Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria 12th-Oct-2017 - Page 2

2 ThUrSDAy, OCTOBer 12, 2017 Vox pop Is FG committed to use of made in Nigeria goods? •Bisi Sanda (Economic expert/public analyst) T hey (Federal Government) have the capacity to do a lot more. I don’t think it is out of ignorance, I think it is the lack of will. As you know, when you analyse the issue of local content, it is at the core of our becoming self sufficient and a successful industrialised country. If we do not produce what we consume, it simply means we buy what we consume from abroad. It simply means we do not have anything we are leveraging on. If you look at the framework for local content or virtually any government’s intervention, it starts from the necessary legal framework. We must have an institutional arrangement to ensure the enforcement of the framework. We also have the issue of the participation of the private sector to achieve the local content. In Nigeria, our enforcement is very weak. The government itself gives out contracts to foreign companies. Are you not bothered that all the major construction works in the country are being done by foreign companies? Does it mean that we do not have Nigerians who can do these? When we ask them why, they tell us that our people do not perform to expectation. But is that an excuse to kill local content? When South Africa built its metros, it used South African companies. you can verify that. And where they needed technology, they involved the foreign companies. But they used that opportunity to up their own game. We are building railways and contracting everything to the foreign companies. So, the government is lacking. It is not walking the talk. D rIveN by the focus and policy objective of the Federal Government about the diversification of the economy, efforts have been put in place to encourage the activation of local industries and ultimately the patronage of locally-produced goods and products in the country. No doubt, this could be gleaned from Federal Government’s efforts at showcasing our local made products in trade fares in Abuja and Abia State recently. This was further exemplified by the ban on foreign exchange for the importation of certain goods into the country. The birth of the initiative was highly applauded as it would, in the long run, promote home-made goods as against the lure for foreign or imported goods and consequently reduce the pressure on the demand for forex. Not only will it reposition the country as a producing economy, it would also increase the capacity for job creation. Amidst all these, it is has remained highly arguable or difficult to align ones position properly as to if the initiative has elicited the desired policy gains and objectives of promoting the production and consumption of our local goods. The reason for this position is not far-fetched. Primarily, it could be attributed to the fact that there is presently no comprehensive road map that has been designed precedent to its implementation. The implementation of certain actions •Prof. Debo Adeyewa (The Chairman, Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities) I do not think we are doing enough. When you look at the local content, even in the •Mr. Abayomi Arabambi (Chairman, Labour Party, Ogun State) I am of the opinion that the Federal Government is not walking the talk. The Federal Government has killed most local industries due to the economic flip-flop of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the lack of provision of forex to these industries. These industries still depend largely on some imported raw materials to produce locally as obtainable all over the world. Again, our electricity; despite billions of dollars spent on it by successive governments have remained largely unstable. Even at that, most government officials depend largely on imported goods as a way of showing affluence in the society. Besides, those Nigerians who even wish to use made in Nigeria goods, can’t find such in the market since most local industries now depend on diesel to produce. Due to high cost of production, many factories have closed down. So, for the government to walk the talk in the use of made in Nigeria goods, it must put in place measures to provide stable electricity for local industries to thrive, and ensure tax holidays for at least a period of five years for genuine foreign investors who come into the country to start business (in the manufacturing sector). Also, all government officials must be made to patronise our local goods like clothing and shoes which they must put on during official hours and when performing official functions. 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