The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Nike Akande has called on governments and citizens of Nigeria to increase their efforts on the promotion of non-oil export. Akande noted that the nation’s economic recovery and growth would be better and faster achieved should made-in-Nigeria goods gain more patronage.
Delivering the 18th Annual Bishop Mike Okonkwo lecture on a theme, ‘Made-in-Nigeria Products: The Vehicle for Sustainable Development’, the former Minister of Industry said that Nigeria’s experience of a steady decline in the global oil price since 2014 and the subsequent decline in her foreign exchange reserves, recession, among others require a change in approach.
According to her, “the decline in crude oil price is beginning to change our development focus for good. We must, as a nation, take the right steps to reduce our reliance on oil.
“I have always been passionate about promoting made-in-Nigeria. It should continue to be a priority for the government. I believe with more patronage, Nigerian manufacturers will be encouraged to improve the quality of their products. And as the quality of our goods and services improve, local and international demands for them will increase. There is no doubt that the fastest route to grow our economy and to create jobs for our teeming population is by promoting non-oil export,” Akande said.
She further said that the made-in-Nigeria campaign should be an inward-looking strategy and a collective effort of all stakeholders towards addressing the current socio-economic challenges in the country. And that Nigeria should note that “for every foreign goods we buy, we are developing other countries’ economies while neglecting ours. Patronising our goods will boost employment generation as the multiplier effect of patronising local products is the demand of labour,” she posited.
Presenting his paper on the same theme, the Special Guest, Chief Eric Umeofia averred that no nation can develop without a strong industrial base that promotes the local production of goods and services consumed in that country.
According to Umeofia, “This is the singular difference between import dependent countries and countries that are industrialised and highly successful at promoting their local products.
The Chief Examiner, Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition, Prof. Hope Eghagha, presenting the examiner’s report for the 2017 edition of the competition, said that a total of 796 entries were received from schools across the country on the topic, ‘Made-in-Nigeria Products: The Vehicle for Sustainable Development’. And that after the first round of assessment by the organisers, 10 participants were selected and invited for the second stage. He said that the second stage was mainly a confirmatory procedure, meant to ensure that the first stage winners are indeed the authentic writers of the shortlisted essays. And with a total score of 80 per cent, Miss Alexandra Nwigwe of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls emerged the overall winner of the competition. While Miss Jesuountan Mercy Ipinmoye of Corona Secondary School emerged second and the third position went to Master Akingbade Gbenga of Emerald High School, Lagos with a total scores of 72 and 70 per cent respectively.
The overall winner, Nwigwe smiled home with a cheque of N100,000, a laptop and a plaque, while her school got three sets of computers and a printer. The second position, Jesuountan was rewarded with a cheque of N75,000 and a plague and her school got two sets of computers and a printer. And Master Gbenga was rewarded with a cheque of N50,000 and a plaque and a computer set was presented the school while other winners were presented with a consolation prize of N20,000 each.