By Henry Umoru
The Federal government will spendÂ N200 million on the campaign toÂ promote patronage for â€œMade -In-Nigeriaâ€ goods.Minister for Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa disclosed this in Abuja at a ceremony to flag off the campaign. Udenwa saidÂ that President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua would formally launch the campaign on Tuesday, 13th October, 2009 at Eagle Square.
He said, â€œThe amnesty recently granted to Niger Delta minitants is a laudable programme especially in view of the response from the militants.â€But after the disarmament the next thing is to rehabilitate them. After the exercise many of them would be thrown into the labour market and if t
hey are retrained but not gainfully employed, they will go back to where they came from which will not be good for the country hence the need for the patronage of Made in Nigeria goods to boost our local industriesâ€.
The Minister saidÂ if the country must achieve the set target of becoming one the twenty largest economies of the world, there isÂ need to revitalize and ginger the private sector to be more active and employ more peopleÂ than the public sector through the patronage of their goods. HeÂ addedÂ that the problem with Nigerians is ego which he said isÂ Â Â killing our products and not the quality of goods manufactured as the products were capable of competing with others in the world.
The MinisterÂ noted that if all Uniforms used by the Armed forces, the Police, Paramilitary are from made in Nigeria Textile, there will be huge earnings in the country, adding that the industries are not working because Nigerians are not patronizing their products.
He pointed out that many preferred to make use of foreign products regardless of the quality so far it has foreign label. He said that ,â€œThe problem we are having is that there is apathy by Nigerians to patronize made in Nigeria goods not because it is inferior, but pride that we are using foreign products, this ought not to be rather the pride should be in made in Nigeria goods. Attitudinal change is our problem and if our economy must grow, our attitude must changeâ€.
Highlighting the advantages in the patronage of made in Nigeria goods, the minister said apart from creating employment for the unemployed youth, and alleviation of poverty, noted that Nigeria has a large market and if we manufacture here, we can sell in the country as well as sell to other parts of the world, but the challenge is that we must first give acceptability to own products before it could be acceptable outside â€œwe must consume our own product first before other could follow suitâ€.
HeÂ lamented that about 60 percent of Nigeria foreign exchange earning is spent on the purchase of foreign products and this translates toÂ importation of unemployment and exportation of employment to other countries.
The Minister said the nationâ€™s foreign exchange earnings should rather be channelled into the development of the nationâ€™s economy, capital projects, trade, mining, solid minerals. HeÂ warned that if the economy is not diversified and the oil price collapses, the economy would crumble, adding that it is against this backdrop that the government is calling for patronage of made in Nigeria products to reduce dependence on oil for the nationâ€™s foreign exchange earnings .