By Franklin Alli
Manufacturers in the country have challenged the Federal Government on the â€˜N200 million Made in Nigeriaâ€™ Campaign, saying â€œPractice what you preach by buying locally made products.
The campaign was formally launched Tuesday, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, amidst speeches and exhibitions.
Local manufacturers produce more than 100 products that are made to internationally acceptable standards. These products include aluminum, cement, detergents, steel, storage tanks, confectionery, rubber stamp, petroleum products, biscuits, plastics, tomato paste, furniture, cereals, cosmetics, cocoa products,Â toiletries, cables, etc.
Reacting, the Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (NTMA), Mr. Jaiyeola Olarewaju, said that as laudable as the campaign seems, the government itself should practice what it preaches by buying locally made products.
â€œWhere do government agenciesâ€™ contractors get the fabrics they supply to the agencies ( Police, Army, Navy, Customs, etc) for their uniforms, door blinds, window blinds, etc?, asked Jaiyeola.
On whether textile manufacturers are represented on the Committee executing the campaign, Jaiyeola replied in these words: â€œWe are not part of the Committee set up for the execution of the campaign.â€
Corroborating, Managing Director of DeeBee Nigeria Limited, Mr. Dolapo Ogutuga, stated that the campaign is laudable if it was very well executed.
He posited that if government, the biggest spender, buys from local manufacturers, the better for the economy as billions of naira spent on importation of foreign goods , would energise local industries, boost employment generation, etc.
He believes the campaign will be successful if members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and their textile counterparts and other stakeholders are adequately represented on the Campaign Committee.
â€œI have not seen the list of the Committee but it wonâ€™t be successful if MAN and relevant stakeholders are not represented on the Committee executing the campaign,â€ he said in a telephone interview.
According to the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, Nigerians should buy made in Nigeria goods which will enable Nigerian manufacturers to improve and meet up with the standard.
In his words, â€œthe more we patronize goods made in Nigeria, the more they will continue to improve their quality, as our industries grow, they will be able to employ a lot of our teeming unemployed youths, which will enable the country conserve a lot of foreign exchange and that is why this programme is very important to all Nigeriansâ€.
Udenwa recalled that Nigerians have had so much importation and crave for foreign goods whereas our local industries have been producing quality and high standard products.
He stated that they have noticed the apathy of Nigerians towards made in Nigeria goods which had reduced availability of funds that would have been channeled into research and development.
The minister revealed that there were cases of Nigerian goods being faked outside the country and smuggled into Nigeria, adding that if Nigerian labels are not good why should someone fake them and bring them back.