By Henry Umoru
PRESIDENT UmaruÂ Â Yarâ€™Adua said yesterday that there was the need for Nigerians to be patriotic in consuming made in Nigeria goods if the country must attain the expected industrial base, just as it stressed that our industries have closed down because of lack of patronage.
According to him, Nigerians must exhibit that patriotism by going for goods manufactured in the country if Nigeria must counter the effect of the global economic meltdown where people will be gainfully employed.
Speaking in Abuja at the official launch of the flag_off Campaign for patronage of Made_in_Nigeria products, President Yarâ€™Adua who disclosed that the government was boosting the textile sector with an additional N30billion Naira, said with this, the dedicated Textile Development Fund would now move from 70 billion Naira to 100 billion Naira. Represented by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, the President explained that the additional 30bilion Naira was a further manifestation of Federal Governmentâ€™s commitment towards revitalizing the ailing industrial sector of the economy.
According to him, â€œthis campaign therefore, is certainly one of the measures meant to counter the negative effects of the global economic crisis on our manufacturing sector.Â It is akin to what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is doing to ensure that our banks remain afloat in spite of the current global financial meltdown the world over.
â€œWith a population of over 140 million people, Nigeriaâ€™s market is big enough to sustain a bubbling domestic industrial sector if only Nigerians look inward at their local products.Â Unfortunately, many industries had to close shop due to lack of patronage of their products by Nigerians.
We must therefore take measures to re_orientate ourselves to value what we produce in order to develop a strong and virile industrial base.Â In other words, we have to imbibe the virtues of consumer patriotism like the developed nations have done in order to have a strong industrial base.Â In this regard, the present Administration has put in place adequate measures to address the infra structural inadequacies, particularly energy which constitutes the biggest obstacles to production to the manufacturing sector.
â€œGovernment is strongly committed to the revival of our industrial sector especially the worst hit, like the textile industry.Â As you all are probably aware, the textile industry used to be the most vibrant sector of our economy employing at a time over 500,000 people.Â Cotton was then in abundance in the country with an average annual production of 320,000 metric tons or 111,000 metric tones lint and over 125 textile companies as well as 72 generis.Â Sadly, the industry is now only a shadow of itself.
â€œThis is the imperative behind the Governmentâ€™s N70 billion cottonÂ and textile revival fund which had now been increased to N100 billion to be sourced and administered by the Bank of Industry (BOI).
â€œMay I seize this opportunity to also appeal to the organize private sector to demonstrate a high sense of consumer patriotism, by following the footsteps of Government in their procurement programmes.Â To the Nigerian manufacturers, this is a big challenge and opportunity for you to demonstrate your capacity to rise up to the task.
I will leave it to the Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry to meet with you and other relevant agencies of Government to develop a database of competent companies to benefit from the initiative.Â Any company that upgrades its production and products to the required quality standards as certified by regulatory agencies, should be included in the databaseâ€.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief AchikeÂ Udenwa who noted that there was the need for a strong political will to back up the campaign through a deliberate government policy if the campaign must succeed, said those in authority must lead by example by patronizing Made in Nigeria Products in all their various procurement programmes.
Chief Udenwa called on manufacturers to play their part well if the campaign initiative must attain its objective, just as he urged them to improve on the quality of their products to the required national and international standards.
Also in his remarks, President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Bashir Borodo who noted that the organization started the campaign of Made in Nigeria products, reiterated the need to address the challenges of inadequate infrastructure especially power, inadequate sales, dearth of business friendly funding windows among others.