By Henry Umoru
AMIDST public outcry of lack of power supply and collapsed public infrastructure in the country, the Federal government Wednesday at a meeting with manufacturers and stakeholders in the production sector asked if they can supply the market with made in Nigeria goods. The federal government alsoÂ launched and flagged off the campaign aimed at promoting the patronage of locally produced goods and services, just as it reiterated the need for Nigerians to embrace made in Nigeria goods if the economy must be boosted..
SpeakingÂ in Abuja at a meeting with stakeholders to launch and flag off campaign for patronage of made in Nigeria goods, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa noted that government was intensifying efforts to ensure the stimulation of significant reduction in the importation of foreignÂ goods.
The Minister who lamented that Nigerians spend huge sums of money to purchase foreign goods which would have been spent on manufacturing in the country, called on Nigerians to have a change of mind set and patronise local goods which according to him, were far better than those imported products.
According to him, â€œwe spend a lot of money on foreign products which we would have spent on manufacturing in Nigeria, let us be determined and ready to wear made in Nigeria products.
â€œNigeria products are good for your health and well-being, it will take a critical mind to distinguish between Nigeria goods and the so called foreign goods.Â Even some of these locally made products are superior to imported goods.
â€œIf we patronize made in Nigeria products, it would be enough to stimulate our economy, our industries would bounce back and it would go a long way to show patriotism to our fatherlandâ€,
Udenwa who noted that government was prepared to partner with the National Orientation Agency(NOA) , said full support to the campaign and partnership by Nigerians would ensure that our industries become very competitive, adding thatÂ Nigerians must as a matter of fact stop blaming all our woes on government, just as he tasked the manufacturers to ensure that their products and services were of high quality.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Minister of state for Commerce and Industry, Humprey AbahÂ who was however dressed in imported suits at the meeting, stressed thatÂ our preference for foreign products must change, adding thatÂ patronage for Nigeria goods would help create employment, enhance the nationâ€™s economy as well as improve our industries.
â€œWhen we neglect and reject locally manufactured products for foreign goods, we kill our industries and increase capital flight which will contribute to impoverish the nation moreâ€, he added.
Meanwhile, the stakeholders and manufacturers at the meeting who spoke severally said they were prepared to meet the nationâ€™s demands for made in Nigeria goods provided the Federal government creates the enabling environment for them to operate by making power and other infrastructure available.
According to Onyekwere Uwaezuoke of Rosics Textile mills limited, if not for the negligence of the textile industry, installed capacity of 1.5 billionÂ litres would have been okay for Nigeria market, adding, â€œtextile industry has the installed capacity which has gone down because of no demand and low patronage. If demand come up again, closed machines that have not been sold can still come up again though there are still room for improvement since some of them are outdatedâ€.
A leather technologist who pleaded anonymity maintained that the government is capable of reviving the local industries if it has the will power, adding that because of politics that is being played, he has not been able to install the equipment he imported as far back as 1989, just as the leather manufacturer insisted that government would need to strengthen the institutions like borders where some of these goods were smuggled in through.