Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Nigerians from all works of life has been urged to join the government in championing the campaign for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods in order to improve productivity in the non-oil sector, diversify the economy and create employment.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi made the appeal recently at a lecture, titled: “Productivity for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Employment”, delivered as part of activities marking the 16th National Productivity Day Celebration in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the Minister, “Government’s travails will continue to be robust and all -inclusive in ensuring continuous productivity for sustainable entrepreneurship and employment on one hand. On the other hand, citizens must complement government’s efforts by embracing the requisite attitudinal change, whereby we all begin to look inwards and increase our patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods.”
He explained that the preference for foreign goods over domestic ones was most cases product of a misplaced priority. Adding that, the citizens must align themselves with government to tackle what he described as “defective rhetoric” against Made-in-Nigeria goods and ensure a paradigm shift in that regard.
He stressed that government will continue to lead with policies to encourage the national priority, and support citizens’ led campaigns. But, however, challenged local manufacturers and entrepreneurs to take the issue of quality assurance more seriously and continuously improve upon their products in order to give the citizens value for their money whenever they patronise local goods.
He revealed further that, societal advancement and productivity had always depended on the entrepreneurial spirit of the citizens, Fayemi challenged authorities of institutions of higher learning in the country to inculcate entrepreneurial and productive spirits in the youths, through carefully designed curricula that would increase their productive capacity.
He said the rationale behind the campaign has been an integral focus of numerous government policies geared towards import substitution. And, that; there was no doubt that increased patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods will lessen the dependency on importation, and lead to the strengthening of our Naira.
“As you may be aware, the Nigerian Senate for example, passed legislation in June 2016 to amend the National Public Procurement Act, to provide for a local content policy to assist local manufacturing. Similarly, the Federal Executive Council has carried out numerous executive actions to promote domestic patronage.
“Local manufacturers and entrepreneurs must also play their role by taking quality assurance seriously and continuously improving upon their products. Nigerians should not be cajoled to buy Made-in-Nigeria goods in order to build our economy and for the sake of national pride, but we should derive optimal value and customer satisfaction whenever we support our kinsmen by patronizing them.”
“increased patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods would also lessen the dependency on importation and lead to the strengthening of the naira.”
He also called on employers of labour to establish systems hat accommodate on-the-job training programmes and internships to complement the efforts of government’s educational policies. This, according to the Minister would provide necessary skills acquisition and entrepreneurial trainings for the youths in addition to their certificates.
Speaking further, Fayemi reinstated government’s commitment to assist the entrepreneurs overcome some of their challenges, including the issue of steady power supply, access to finance and supporting infrastructure, which he said were being tackled comprehensively with a view to creating enabling environment for productivity.
Government, according to him, was also addressing the country’s low ranking in the “Ease -of -Doing -Business” ranking, “in order to ensure our jurisdiction is more attractive to foreign investors.”