Until recently, Nigeria has been languishing in economic recession which has affected its level of trade and manufacturing activities.
Among many other factors, the major influencers of the economic meltdown as identified by economists are Nigeriansâ€™s penchant for foreign goods as well as limited grounds to expand export earnings and production base as a result of heavy reliance on crude oil.
This is why governmentâ€™s efforts to diversify the economy by encouraging and improving local production and promoting interest in made-in-Nigeria products suddenly received a boost.
The efforts and initiatives deployed to address the countryâ€™s economic woes might be paying off.
For instance, a report says that Nigeria has moved up 24 places in the Ease of Doing Business ranking to emerge among top 10 most improved economies in the world in 2017 while itsÂ Gross Domestic Product, GDP recorded 1.4 per cent growth inÂ third quarter of 2017.
More to reckon with is the amount of capital importation into the country which stood at $4.145 billion in the Q3 of 2017, more than double the inflow in the second quarter of the year as stated by National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Although the federal government has not relented in its effort to make the Nigerian economyÂ a productive one rather than being consumption driven, the rate at which industrial raw materials are being imported into the country has continued to be a setback to this effort.
The federal government in the 3rd quarter of 2016 set up the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to look into the various ways of enhancing business operations and to empower citizens through employment in the areas of sourcing and processing of raw materials, to bolster the overall growth of the economy and ensure that the nation becomes self-reliant.
Yet, statistics from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)Â reveal that Nigeria spent N5.89 trillion on the importation of raw materials in 2016 alone,Â thus, bringing the total sum spent on the importation of primary raw materials into the countryÂ in seven yearsÂ to N19.5trn. On the average, the country spent N2.79trn every year within this period.
This trend has continued to be a major hindrance to the manufacturing sector which needed to source its raw materials locally to grow and for consumers to also enjoy affordable prices of commodities.
Realising that government alone cannot change the fate of manufacturers in the country, leading consumer productÂ company,Â Procter& GambleÂ Nigeria,Â has continued to sponsor initiativesÂ targeting sector growth, thus complementing the federal governmentÂ economic development agenda.
The brand has committed over 500 million dollars to support industrialisation in the country. These funds have been deployed in the construction of her two manufacturing plants such that its producesÂ its products close to consumers; there isÂ localisation of manpower, and the growth of Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which is incorporated into the supply chain of the organisation.
Just recently, the company which started operations in Nigeria in 1992, Â partnered with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to convene a meeting of suppliers in the manufacturing sector to chart a course that will develop the industrial market.
The gathering focused majorly on sustainable supply of raw materials in the right quantity and quality from within the country that would lead to the creation of jobs, generation of wealth within the economy and a source of revenue for the government.
In his delivery, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy for Procter & Gamble Sub Saharan Africa Operations, Temitope Iluyemi, harped on Â backward integration as the way forward to producing price-friendly products that will meet the needs and lifestyles of Nigerian consumers as well as boost national finances
He said, â€œBackward integration is essential to the growth of the Nigerian economy and P&Gâ€™s aim is to encourage our global partners to do the same, thereby promoting technology transfer. We will work to pre-qualify local suppliers for materials used in the production of consumer-packaged products and by extension,Â build the capability of local manufacturers to compete effectively in regional value chains and further strengthen the diversification efforts of the Nigerian government.â€
No doubt, the consumer market and indeed the Nigerian economy have tremendously benefited from the organisationâ€™s strategy of promoting local content most especially by using its expertise and products to solve social, environmental and economic problems.
The companyâ€™s continuous local investment is a testament to its commitment to support the federal government diversification efforts which is worthy of emulation.