By Ugo Aliogo
The Nigeria Indigenous Association of Manufacturers (NIAM) has urged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to boost local manufacturing, noting that this would help the economy to be self-sufficiency in food production and reduce over reliance on importation.
Secretary General of the association, Umaru Farouq Abdullahi, made the remark at a media parley weekend, stating that the association was fully in support of the drive of the president to reduce the volume of imported goods coming into Nigeria.
He called on Nigerians to stop heavy reliance of foreign made goods in order to discourage importation and encourage local production.
He also enjoined the public to change their mentality about locally made goods, saying: “Nigeria made goods are superior to foreign made goods.”
Abdullahi stated that the association was committed to ensuring that the country makes good use of its foreign exchange, through the sale of locally manufactured goods, even as he called for support for local manufacturers such as Dangote, Erisco Foods, the Aba manufacturers, and the Onitsha traders in their drive to stimulate economic growth.
The association scribe stated that the farmers should not be left behind, because they are the backbone of food sufficiency in Nigeria, noting that during the period when agriculture was the mainstay of the economy, importation was very minimal due to local production.
He expressed dismay that the country at the moment cannot manufacture goods for local consumption and feed its population, stressing that this attitude cannot continue to drag the country behind in area of food production in the comity of nations.
Abdullahi stated that the association was committed to ensuring that Nigeria improves in the quality of what it produces.
In his remark, the National President of NIAM, Eric Umeofia, stated that the administration of President Buhari was highly committed to ensuring that Nigerians receive the dividends of the change agenda and appealed for support for the administration.
Umeofia called on commercial banks to support local manufacturers with loans in order to boost local production.
He added: “We need to have a change of heart in the government sector. It is very bad that we are not proud of what we are producing here in Nigeria. In developed societies they produce for local consumption and exports. The President cannot do everything; the agencies responsible such as NAFDAC are not encouraging locally manufactured goods. Foreign exchange is been given to importers without considering the indigenous manufacturers.
“It is sad to state here that banks are not supporting the local manufacturers. I want to urge them to support local manufacturers in order to boost job generation in the next five to six years. As an association, we are concerned about the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian through food production. I want to urge Nigerians to support made in Nigeria goods and not encourage importation. State governments should give industrial supports to manufacturers producing in their states. Nigeria should think of diversifying towards agriculture, and reduce the reliance on oil wealth.”
The Chairman Innoson Group of Companies, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, noted that the development of the economy rests not on foreigners, but on Nigerians, stressing that the country has the capacity to attract foreign investors to the country.