Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government is on the verge of kick-starting a campaign on made-in-Nigeria goods, a move designed to encourage Nigerians to patronise locally-produced goods and services.
This is part of the measures being adopted by the government to conserve foreign exchange, stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
The government also disclosed that it had commenced the implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who made the disclosure in Abuja monday while inaugurating the Joint National Planning Committee for the 22nd Nigeria Economic Summit (NES#22), stated that the government also intends to increase manufacturing capacity by operationalising industrial parks, as well as free export processing zones, among others.
Udoma said his ministry agreed with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) on the theme of the 22nd summit, “Made in Nigeria”.
“The summit will essentially be used to galvanise support from stakeholders on the need to commit to structural and fiscal changes required to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
“It starts with changing our orientation in consumption pattern by shifting our mindset and preference for anything imported and foreign made to patronising made-in-Nigeria products,” he said.
The minister, however, acknowledged that there were challenges with patronising locally-made products, adding that the main issue was that people complain about quality and the sub-standard nature of the products.
While acknowledging that there was a degree of truth in this, he pointed out that “we must challenge ourselves to do better”.
“By encouraging patronage, we are challenging our manufacturers to invest in the technology required to upscale our quality. We are therefore calling on all our economic agents (government, corporate organisations and individuals) to re-orientate to Nigerian made goods and services first, before considering imported products,” Udoma stated.
He affirmed that NES#22 was expected to serve as a strong platform to sharpen the focus of the conversation and extract tangible commitments from the participants.
According to him, the major thrust of the summit would be to facilitate stakeholders’ discussions and agreements on the practical issues, opportunities, policies and regulations needed to help Nigerian made goods a success in the country.
Udoma, who underscored the importance of the annual NES, said many of the reform policy initiatives that have underpinned the evolution of the nation’s economic growth strategies in the past 23 years were strongly influenced by debates and deliberations during the summits.
The minister added that for instance, some of the recommendations of last year’s summit were reflected in this year’s budget and the strategic implementation plan of Budget 2016.
In designing the agenda for NES#22, he admonished the Joint Planning Committee to take cognisance of the current administration’s commitment to repositioning the economy, creating jobs for the teeming jobless youths, as well as supporting vulnerable groups.