Leveraging On AfCFTA To Boost Made-In-Nigeria Products

Leveraging On AfCFTA To Boost Made-In-Nigeria Products
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Mimidoo Patrick

The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic has continued to compel nations to stretch possibilities and adopt new ways of doing things. Considering the current economic reality of Nigeria occasioned by the intermittent dwindling price of oil in the global market, there is no auspicious time than now to promote the non-oil sectors as a way of salvaging the nation’s ailing economy.

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It is indeed an unassailable fact that made in Nigeria products, if properly harnessed, have tremendous potential to help in reviving the economy of the country. Unarguably, there seems to be genuine efforts by the Mohammdu Buhari-led administration to diversify the economy.

President Buhari at different fora had reiterated his administration’s commitment to the promotion of Made-in-Nigeria products which he says lies at the heart of his government’s efforts to lead the country out of troubled times and lay a firm foundation for the future.

According to the president, “As I have said in the past, we need to diversify the economy so that we would never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country, so that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textile, produce most of the things we use and create the right environment for our young people to be able to benefit and create jobs through technology”.

Buhari maintained that this has been the commitment of his administration. “I have remained focused on it each day since the assumption of this administration. There is clearly no better way to achieve this without building our economic foundation on made-in-Nigeria goods and services. Fortunately, we have champions of made-in-Nigeria that have defied the odds over the years to produce locally and contribute to our economy. My greatest desire is that Nigeria moves from import dependence to self-sufficiency in local production and become an export-led economy in goods and service. I strongly believe that this summit will bring all stakeholders on board to stay on that course”, he said.

The government acknowledged the private sector as the anchor of the country’s economic growth. He noted that the government would continue to encourage it to grow in a competitive environment. To demonstrate its commitment to promoting made in Nigeria products, the Buhari-led administration says buying made in Nigeria products including locally made vehicles to boost the nation’s manufacturing sector and provide more job opportunities to Nigerians.

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 Minister of Finance, Zainab Amina Ahmed said the policy on buying Made-in-Nigeria products would soon be deliberated upon by the Federal Executive Council ,FEC, to ensure patronage by federal agencies, institutions and organisations patronizing them, especially vehicles.

Ahmed said the Federal Government would also engage State Governments and other relevant stakeholders to encourage them to patronize Made-in-Nigeria products.

“So, we will be hoping to have a Federal Executive Council approval to compel the Federal Government agencies to buy locally-made vehicles as much as is practicable. To this end, the Federal Government urged stakeholders on compliance to standards in the manufacturing of locally made goods towards expanding its exports to the rest of Africa in the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, and to the rest of the world.

It said it committed to the elimination of all limitations to product quality and technical barriers will improve market acceptability of Made-in-Nigeria products across the continent.

Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said, “Improving product quality is integral to market entry and market share; our failure to adhere to international standards for product quality will continue to limit the market acceptability of our products and poses the risk of rejection and non-acceptance of ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ products at home and abroad.

“We are fully aware that Nigeria’s aspirations for a highly competitive economy will remain unfulfilled if we do not create a business environment that is conducive for your businesses to thrive. Among other factors, a friendly business environment engenders productivity while ensuring that products and services meet the highest standards”.

He said the National Standardisation Strategy released by SON in 2020 took cognisance of Nigeria’s priorities and served as a reference document in integrating standardisation needs, and that the National Quality Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, early in the year, would help reduces the infrastructural burden of meeting local and global quality requirements.

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Vice-President said that MSMEs accounted for approximately 48% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

According to him, MSMEs continue to play a vital role in providing jobs and keeping the economy running, despite economic challenges heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. “There are a plethora of programmes which this administration has specially curated to support MSMEs.

Osinbajo said the implementation of the ESP helped the economy to exit recession speedily by increasing the chances of survival of Nigerian MSMEs in the thick of the pandemic.

He added that the Federal Government was supporting MSMEs in the digital and creative sectors through collaboration with the African Development Bank on a 600 million dollars programme on investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises, “These interventions will not be sustainable if a deliberate culture of ensuring compliance with global standards and regulations to attain quality benchmarks is not inculcated.

“SON through its mandate as the National Standards body has the capacity to provide Nigerian MSMEs with the required support for the production of quality goods to make you competitive across Africa and globally,” he said. Some experts are of the opinion that If the government is really serious about the diversification of the economy, one vital approach would be to revive local industries.

They said it was encouraging to note that the Federal Government is currently working on plans to promote the production and consumption of local products. Undoubtedly, this is a sensible thing to do. “Aside providing solutions to the unemployment problem in the country, encouraging the production and consumption of local products could usher Nigeria into the path of the much desired economic prosperity.

They also believe that with the utilization of African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, through proper packaging of products the sky will be our limit. “Fortunately, we have an amazing advantage in our size. Conservatively, the country’s population is put at over 180 million. Nigeria is home to about one in five Africans. Our population is, therefore, a major source of strength and behooves on us as a nation to leverage on this factor to promote the Nigerian brand in terms of products and services as this remains the only means through which sustainable employment can be guaranteed.

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Nigeria is in a position to play a strong continental and global role because it benefits from a large population of energetic, educated, and entrepreneurial people, as well as from an abundance of natural resources. “For local industries and local goods to enjoy sufficient patronage from local consumers, there is a need for the National Assembly to come up with a local patronage bill that would ensure that made-in-Nigeria goods and local producers are protected.

The idea of patronizing Made-in-Nigeria goods should not be regarded as a parochial scheme. Rather, it should be view as a call for a nationwide partnership to develop the kind of collective commerce pattern that would have a positive bearing on national development”.

There is a need for holistic overhaul of our importation policy to discourage items that can be locally manufactured, as the leather exhibition has proven. One is actually in support of plans by the Federal Government to discourage the importation of certain items that the country has the potential of producing locally.

“Therefore, we need to empower local industries, and this could only be done by embracing locally made goods. Recent giant strides in the cement industry have sufficiently demonstrated that local industries could act as catalysts for economic growth if only the needed impetus for growth and development are put in place.

This is where funding and other related issues come in. Though the Bank of Industry, BOI, is currently making good efforts in this respect, there is a need for more banks and financial institutions to buy into the ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ vision in order to ensure enhanced industrial growth in the country.

Aljazirahnews


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