Abimbola Akosile reports on the various positive observations and recommendations that emerged from a two-day dialogue and sensitisation with stakeholders on promotion of Made in Nigeria products by the CSOs Coalition for Made in Nigeria Products (CONMAP) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), which took place in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, recently

Ideal Context
A two-day dialogue and sensitisation with stakeholders on the promotion of Made in Nigeria Products by CSOs Coalition for Made in Nigeria Products (CONMAP) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) was held late June at Edinan Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The event, facilitated by the NGO Network, a national Not-for Profit entity, was a follow-up to the 2017 National Expo organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, held in April at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

It was attended by representatives from the Akwa Ibom State Government, Ministerial Staff of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology; other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); Non-State Actors (NSAs) from different organisations; representatives of the Private Sector from across the country; the Media, among others.

The event equally featured presentations, discussions, exhibition, road show, and visits, e.t.c for the realisation of the objectives of the Dialogue.

Crucial Highlights
The highlights of the event include a brief on the Dialogue and Sensitisation with stakeholders by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Belema Wakama, who was represented by the Ministry’s Director of Bio-Resources Technology, Dr. Abayomi Oguntunde.

There was also the unveiling the Made in Nigeria Online App by the National Coordinator, CSOs Coalition for Made in Nigeria Products (CONMAP) Mr. Mohammed Bougei Attah; Leveraging on Digital Technology as Springboard for Made in Nigeria revolution by Mr. Edward Esene of Google Digital Skills, Lagos.

The event also witnessed the Plan of Actions and Strengthening Stakeholders on Step-down Advocacy by the Director General, Centre for Applied Policy and Social Advocacy (CAPSA), Abuja, Dr. Lanre Adebayo; and presentation of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology-NGO Network Partnership by the Legal Adviser, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Yvonne Odu-Thomas.

Perspectives on the Promotion of Made in Nigeria Products as Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was presented by the Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Udoh Ekpeyong.

There was a keynote address by the Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, represented by the ministry’s Director, Science and Technology Promotion, Mr. Ekanem Udoh, who also declared the Dialogue open. There was also a visit to exhibition sites by the special guests and participants.

Dialogue Objectives
The objectives of the dialogue include; to strengthen the relationship between the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the fight against unemployment and poverty in Nigeria through the promotion of Made in Nigeria products; to increase CSOs’ voice on the effort on the Made in Nigeria products at all levels of the society; and to highlight the roles of the CSOs, governments and other stakeholders on Step-Down advocacy for Made in Nigeria products.
Others include: to identify obstacles to patronage of Made in Nigeria products with a view to proffering solutions; and to complement the Federal Government`s economic recovery and growth plan.

Vital Observations
After successful deliberations on the subject matter by the participants, the forum observed that lack of patronage to Made in Nigeria Products was the root cause of the wide spread unemployment, poverty and economic crises in Nigeria; that the abundant human and material resources in Nigeria are grossly under-tapped and under-utilised; and that the obstacles to patronage of Made in Nigeria Products are enormous.

The participants also observed that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is in the forefront of economic recovery and growth plan in Nigeria; that CSOs are vital in this fight against unemployment, poverty and economic crises through the promotion of Made in Nigeria Products; and that the Akwa Ibom State government has been frank, frantic and consistent in promoting Made in Nigeria Products to enhance economic recovery and to pursue development for lasting democracy in Nigeria.

They also noted that in spite of the laudable efforts to promote Made in Nigeria Products, Nigerians still spite the consumption of their products and services, even their institutions; that there is no up-to-date data on the professionals and manufacturers of Made in Nigeria products, and that there is need for massive nation-wide advocacy, campaign and awareness-creation on Made in Nigeria products and their impacts on national development.
To the participants at the Uyo forum, there are undeniable roles of ICT Exhibitions in the promotion and consumption of Made in Nigeria goods and services.

Positive Recommendations
Following the various observations, participants made some recommendations on how the situation can be improved in the concerned sectors in Nigeria.

They jointly resolved that the existing CSOs–FMST’s relationship should be strengthened for the continuous efforts and promotion of Made in Nigeria Products; that the citizens should be enlightened on the need to patronize Made in Nigeria products; and that producers, manufacturers and institutions should ensure quality control and standards to enhance patronage.

They resolved that governments should strongly discourage the promotion and consumption of foreign goods and services; and that governments at all levels should create enabling environment for effective promotion, production and consumption of Made in Nigeria products.

To them, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology should be encouraged and their capacity further enhanced in their noble fight against unemployment and poverty through the promotion of consumption of Made in Nigeria products.
The participants also recommended that CSOs and government should forge a robust alliance to ensure the compilation of reliable data/directory on professionals, manufacturers and institutions, and their products/services; and that CSOs and governments at all levels should carry out advocacy to the grassroots level on the need to patronise Made in Nigeria products for effective utilisation of the nation’s human and material resources.

They also resolved that despite the enabling laws on importation of foreign goods, stakeholders should continue to embark on massive and aggressive campaign against importation of certain foreign goods; and that the government should leverage on digital technology and exhibition as a springboard for the promotion and consumption of Made in Nigeria Products to revolutionise the economic recovery plan of the country.