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IT is hardly surprising that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under Governor Godwin Emefiele, has once again taken a significant step which should guide the actions of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to look inwards for much of the solutions to our economic problems.

At the bank’s forum in Abuja on Wednesday last week, Emefiele announced that hand sanitisers and other anti-viral protective inputs which can be adequately sourced from within the country to combat epidemic outbreaks like COVID-19 would be banned from access to foreign exchange for their imports.

That was Emefiele’s reaction after a leading manufacturer, Mrs. Stella Okolie of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, had disclosed that her company and many other Nigerian manufacturers could comfortably supply the nation’s needs in these products, but lamented that due to government neglect Nigerians spend valuable foreign exchange to import them.

According to Okolie: “Local industries must not be neglected. We should find out who is doing what and who can do what and patronise them. We should look inwards. We have what it takes to build this nation”.

It is unfortunate that though this need to look inwards was staring us in the face when Buhari assumed office in 2015, our near-total dependence on foreign imports continued in spite of the recession.

Though it placed high priority on economic restoration the administration failed to mobilise the populace to shun undue importation and patronise locally-produced commodities. It is not surprising that the much-vaunted effort at diversifying the economy has yielded little fruit.

Apart from the Nigerian Air Force and the Army which opted to buy some of their spare parts and kits from local manufacturers, most top government officials and their spouses continued to flaunt expensive foreign items of personal fashion in defiance of the parlous state of the economy.

It was the CBN that boldly continued the revitalisation of the agricultural sector which began under the previous administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan by rolling out the Anchor Borrower’s Programme for food production, especially rice. The CBN also drew up a list of 42 items which it prohibited from its foreign exchange allocation. This and the bank’s stabilisation of the foreign exchange helped us to limp out of the recession.

We call on the Buhari administration to take a leaf from this symbolic gesture and declare a full-scale inward looking policy which will bind all Nigerians, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government and government officials to buy and use made-in-Nigeria goods, with the President leading from the front.

We should also patronise Nigerian professionals, schools, hospitals and car-makers. Wherever we find inadequacies we will be forced to fix them. With bleak fortunes facing worldwide crude oil sales, Nigeria can save herself by consuming what it produces and importing only what it does not yet make.

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IT is hardly surprising that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under Governor Godwin Emefiele, has once again taken a significant step which should guide the actions of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to look inwards for much of the solutions to our economic problems.

At the bank’s forum in Abuja on Wednesday last week, Emefiele announced that hand sanitisers and other anti-viral protective inputs which can be adequately sourced from within the country to combat epidemic outbreaks like COVID-19 would be banned from access to foreign exchange for their imports.

That was Emefiele’s reaction after a leading manufacturer, Mrs. Stella Okolie of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, had disclosed that her company and many other Nigerian manufacturers could comfortably supply the nation’s needs in these products, but lamented that due to government neglect Nigerians spend valuable foreign exchange to import them.

According to Okolie: “Local industries must not be neglected. We should find out who is doing what and who can do what and patronise them. We should look inwards. We have what it takes to build this nation”.

It is unfortunate that though this need to look inwards was staring us in the face when Buhari assumed office in 2015, our near-total dependence on foreign imports continued in spite of the recession.

Though it placed high priority on economic restoration the administration failed to mobilise the populace to shun undue importation and patronise locally-produced commodities. It is not surprising that the much-vaunted effort at diversifying the economy has yielded little fruit.

Apart from the Nigerian Air Force and the Army which opted to buy some of their spare parts and kits from local manufacturers, most top government officials and their spouses continued to flaunt expensive foreign items of personal fashion in defiance of the parlous state of the economy.

It was the CBN that boldly continued the revitalisation of the agricultural sector which began under the previous administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan by rolling out the Anchor Borrower’s Programme for food production, especially rice. The CBN also drew up a list of 42 items which it prohibited from its foreign exchange allocation. This and the bank’s stabilisation of the foreign exchange helped us to limp out of the recession.

We call on the Buhari administration to take a leaf from this symbolic gesture and declare a full-scale inward-looking policy which will bind all Nigerians, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government and government officials to buy and use made-in-Nigeria goods, with the President leading from the front.

We should also patronise Nigerian professionals, schools, hospitals and car-makers. Wherever we find inadequacies we will be forced to fix them. With bleak fortunes facing worldwide crude oil sales, Nigeria can save herself by consuming what it produces and importing only what it does not yet make.

VANGUARD

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