Can Nigeria Afford Economic Protectionism in 2017?

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As the United States moves to protect its economy and citizens under a new leadership, many analysts have argued that Nigeria can adopt the same protectionist approach this year to protect local manufacturing and boost indigenous goods and products. Although Japan did this successfully after the Second World War (WWII), others believe Nigeria cannot survive without throwing her borders wide open for all sorts of imports as canvassed by globalisation and lopsided trade agreements. In your own view, can Nigeria afford protectionism in 2017 to help revive her local industries and overall economy?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Yes, Nigeria can. The rough road we are traversing now is similar to the current social and economic turbulence in Europe and America in particular. Even Trump is attacking the perceived problems headlong and without fear or favour. Nigeria needs such vigour to actually drive home the proverbial nail of economic freedom. Our porous borders and unrepentant smugglers and their collaborators call for great concern. The apt time is now. God bless Nigeria.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Nigeria can, and we can. The political will is there but the population is not willing. This is the missing link.
– Mr. Duru Nnamdi, Abuja

* We cannot compare ourselves with America on policy making because they have vision and mission to accomplish it. I believe under this government, Nigeria will get there because they have vision and mission, despite some challenges in our economy. This problem didn’t start under this government. Let us give this government time; we must be like America. After all, many nations pass through these problems. God bless Nigeria.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* It is the only way forward for us; we have tried the neo-capitalist model for over 50 years. It’s time to aggressive look inwards. It is our only hope to true greatness. Yes, we can.
– Mr. Oge Igwe-nnaji, Lagos State

* Yes, we can. It will be on selective goods. The number one of these should be petroleum products. We should also aggressively pursue growing and consumption of local rice beginning with Aso Rock and IDP camps. When this happens, the government and the people will be serious with agriculture. Let the people in governments take the lead by visible example. Let us look inward. This will free forex for manufacturing companies. Let us revive our paper mills too.
– Mr. Fapojuwo Opeyemi, Lagos State

* Yes, we can, if all of us key into it; but is that likely? I doubt that.
– Mr. Remi Adelowo, Lagos State

* Despite all the talk about globalisation and neo-liberalism, almost all developed nations have one form of protectionism or the other. Using various monetary and fiscal policies, developed nations protect their economy, currency, jobs, industries etc. It is foolhardy for any nation especially a developing one like Nigeria to think we can open our borders to all manners of imports especially consumer goods. What we need do as a nation is to look at those sectors where we have comparative advantage and those that are providing jobs and see how we can offer them some form of protection from negative competition. In addition, Nigeria needs to be able to secure its borders from the activities of nefarious smugglers who subject local manufacturers to unfair competition.
– Mr. Babatunde Oluajo, Abuja

* For now, Nigeria cannot afford it. We do not have substitute local products of commensurate quality with the foreign ones. And more importantly, our industries, especially manufacturing industry, are not developed enough to meet local demand. The problem is attributable mostly to our legendary aversion to planning.
– Mr. John Ogunsemore, Lagos State

* There is no developed country in the world that doesn’t practise one form of protectionism or another. That’s what Donald Trump is doing at the moment by insisting American companies’ production lines be brought back to the USA from countries that have cheaper labour and production costs. Nigeria can consolidate on the gains of banned goods and higher tariffs on imports by going out to court the job-creating companies that have left Nigeria back into the country. Companies such as Dunlop, Michelin e.t.c. and our textile companies ought to be revived because of their capacity to generate thousands of jobs. In fact, higher duties ought to be introduced on imported textiles. The best thing the government can do to protect our economy is to strengthen the value of the naira. Protectionism for us is not even an option.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* To me, Nigeria can afford economic protectionism, say in some years to come but not in 2017, with what the present government has set up for the country. Sooner or later, we shall be self-sufficient in food production and other items necessary for survival. Then the issue of Nigeria affording economic protectionism can arise and even not in 2017 please.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Yes, Nigeria can and in fact should protect our economy and citizens this year with genuinely concerted efforts. America is doing the same thing now and is already making necessary amends, like on immigration issues, no matter whose ox is gored. Nigeria’s biggest challenge now is our porous borders. A wall fence is out of the question but honesty, unity and genuine love at the leadership level still leaves much to be desired. Financial greed has led Nigeria far away from the Promised Land. A change of mindset will lead us towards light. Advanced nations rely on truth and right mindset that has evaded us since. 2017 is our year of good hopes; we must take our chances now by working on our mindset with absolute honesty, unity and love. God bless Nigeria.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* I think economic protectionism should selectively apply. Very crucial sectors in infancy should be shielded until maturity. One doesn’t release a hunting dog into the wild as a puppy. The textile industry pops into mind as a starting point, but free trade is vital still.
– Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R. Associates, Apo, Abuja

* For Nigeria to move forward, some tough decisions must be made, and if economic protectionism is one of them, then the government should go ahead and protect the citizens from selfish countries which are only after our huge local markets. Local industries must be allowed to grow and produce quality products that would compete with and discourage imports. However, those in power must spearhead the patronage of those local products, or else the people will stick with imports. Charity begins at home.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

THE FEEDBACK

Yes, Nigeria can: 8
No, it cannot: 2
Others: 3
Radical tip: No other option!
Total no of respondents: 13
Male: 12
Female: 1
Highest location: Lagos (7)

Next Week: What’s the Crucial Missing Link to Nigeria’s Devt?

Nigeria as a country has many challenges but her situation is not exclusive. Other nations identified top priorities to achieved desired development, like Ghana (leadership), USA (private sector) Malaysia (oil palm), Philippines (mariners), Japan (literacy), Kenya (coffee), and Gambia (tourism). In your own view, what is that crucial missing link that must be prioritised to help lift Nigeria to her desired level of development, and how should it be applied?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (February 9 & Monday, February 13) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, February 16