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The federal government has been advised to establish gemstones industrial hubs for the jewelry industry to thrive.
This, if established, would enable Nigerian small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in jewelry business, which are mostly women to take advantage of opportunities in the industry that is saturated with imported products, experts stressed.
Speaking recently at an exhibition event to showcase Made-in-Nigeria jewelries using locally sourced gemstones, the Creative Director, Fulfill Jewelry, Mrs. Linda Aliogo, urged the government to establish industrial hubs for jewelry makers in the country.
She noted that due to the influx of foreign products in the country, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs like her had been struggling to breakeven despite their efforts to produce masterpieces that meet international standards.
“Sourcing some of these stones is quite challenging, we do have some of them in the country, but then they are not as properly refined compared with the ones you import into the country.
“If the government actually helps in building industrial hubs where people who mine can actually refine them to make it accessible to people like us, this will reduce our cost of production.
“Most times when we want to get these gemstones, we tend to import them and the processes involved at the end of the day inflates the cost of production which eventually comes down to customers which ought to be.
“This has been the challenges facing the local manufacturers, sourcing locally and having them in quality that can favourably compete with products from abroad in terms of quality and competitiveness.”
On the impact of imported jewelries on local manufactures, she noted that, “for those who are not in the industry, they do not understand what it means for you to put in your time, creative mindset to produce handmade products.
“What they bring in from abroad are machine made, factory made, and it takes them just a few minutes for mass production. So when they do this it comes cheap and when imported into the country it competes with us that rely on handmade production,” she explained.
On her part, the General Manager, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Bernice Eriemeghe, urged luxury enthusiasts to patronise Made-in-Nigeria goods and products in order to boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“My drive is simply premised on the need for us to support home locally made stuff and hearing about the exhibition I decided to come because her designs are unique.
“Her collections are made from scratch infusing creativity to all her jewelries in terms of different styles for each product that you cannot see anywhere.
“So all efforts must be in place to support our local content and provide what is needed to ensure that they succeed.”