by Tonia ‘diyan
Nigerians are fast adjusting to the present economic realities. Many consumers, who, hitherto used foreign made goods, are now looking inwards in order to cushion the effects of the hard times.
In the view of Mr. Isaac Onukwuba, a director at the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the craze and love for foreign made goods and services by Nigerians would compound the hardship in the country.
According to him, the present economic downturn could be reversed if Nigerians produce, patronise, sell and consume locally made goods and services.
Onukwuba said this while commenting on Made-in-Nigeria utility vehicle called “Transform Nigeria Vehicle,’’ manufactured by Innoson Motors in Nnewi, Anambra State.
The NOA director said buying and selling made-in-Nigeria products and services should be done with the highest sense of national pride because “this is our own”.
He explained that this was the only way Nigerians could gain from the rest of the world.
“Promoting Made-in-Nigeria is the surest way of making Nigeria and Nigerians survive the current situation.
“Those countries where we run to get all these imported products applied the same principles to build their economy,’’ he said.
Like other chambers across the country, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on local industrialists and other stakeholders in the manufacturing sector to step up production forwards boosting the nation’s economy. Mr Jude Igwe, the Chairman, Organising Committee for the forthcoming 11th Abuja International Trade Fair, gave the advice at a news conference recently.
“Experience has shown that our economy can no longer be sustained by that and that, is why the chamber has, after careful consideration, chosen the theme: `Make it in Nigeria’ as very apt. We must make it in Nigeria if we must find our way out of the current economic challenges. There are no two ways,’’ Igwe said.
In the view of the Managing Director of Innoson Group of Companies, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, adequate investment in technological advancement would pave the way for local manufacturers and as well proffer lasting solution to the realisation of the present economic struggle in the country.
The Innoson boss, who spoke during a day visit to the Centre for Basic Space Science (CBSS), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, observed that for any country to become an exporting nation, it has to patronise locally made goods to boost local production and the country’s economy.
The decline in technological advancement in rural communities were the causes of the present economic challenges in the country, he said, stressing the need for local manufacturers to collaborate with government research agencies and universities, in order to actualise the vision of the present administration in the country for Nigerians to patronise locally made goods.
Echoing similar sentiments, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, senator representing Lagos-Central Senatorial District while speaking at the ongoing Made in Nigeria Festival, MaIN Fest 2016, said the patronage of locally-made goods is key to growing the economy.
The CEO of Konga.com, Shola Adekoya, speaking during a Panel Discussion titled: ‘Doing Business in Nigeria,’ said: “Where we are today isn’t acceptable to us as a nation and as a people. The rest of the world is moving on and we’re being left behind. We also need to keep in mind that there are new ways of doing things and we have to begin to leverage on them as government agencies, parastatals, and businesses to achieve desired results.”
The Konga boss further stated that for a nation to make great progress, human and infrastructural developments are necessary.
“The development of a nation is important, as it’s not just about discussing the issues plaguing the country, but focus should be on fixing them. As technology moves, we need to begin to rethink our policies and strategies so they align with technological advancements.”
Speaking Konga doing business in Nigeria, he said: “When Konga began no one believed that e-commerce could be successful in Nigeria but staying focused on our mission as the engine of commerce and trade in Africa, we are empowering indigenous MSMEs across the nation to reach a wider market across the country. Konga is helping MSMEs match with the fast changing technology by providing a platform that showcases their products to the entire world at just a click.”
The Federal Government is on the verge of kick-starting a campaign on made-in-Nigeria goods, a move designed to encourage Nigerians to patronise locally-produced goods and services.
This is part of the measures being adopted by the government to conserve foreign exchange, stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
The government has also hinted of plans to commence the implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, made the disclosure in Abuja recently while inaugurating the Joint National Planning Committee for the 22nd Nigeria Economic Summit (NES#22), scheduled for 10th to 12th of October, 2016, to be anchored by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).
The NESG prides itself as Nigeria’s most influential and leading private sector think-tank with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into an open, globally competitive economy.
Shedding light on the proposed summit, the minister said it will essentially be used to galvanise support from stakeholders on the need to commit to structural and fiscal changes required to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
“It starts with changing our orientation in consumption pattern by shifting our mindset and preference for anything imported and foreign made to patronising made-in-Nigeria products,” he said.
While acknowledging that there was a degree of truth in this, he pointed out that “we must challenge ourselves to do better”.
“By encouraging patronage, we are challenging our manufacturers to invest in the technology required to upscale our quality. We are therefore calling on all our economic agents (government, corporate organisations and individuals) to re-orientate to Nigerian made goods and services first, before considering imported products,” Udoma stated.
Justifying the need for the theme, the NESG secretariat said the theme ‘Made in Nigeria’ would be used to embody the imperative to commit to the structural and fiscal changes required to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
The long term goals is to help reinvigorate moribund industries and services that have shown potentials in the past and curtail the growing demand for foreign exchange for consumption rather than capital products and equipment.
Giving further insight on the Summit, the NESG secretariat said the event will begin with Ministry of Budget and National Planning Day and a plenary focusing on policy dialogue and macroeconomic environment.