Appetite for foreign goods costing manufacturers $3bn annually – MAN

Anna Okon

Local manufacturers lose an average of $3bn annually due to the preference of Nigerian government and consumers for foreign goods.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during a media parley to intensify campaign for made-in-Nigeria goods.

The MAN president, joined by a consumer advocate and founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Mrs. Sola Salako-Ajulo, urged the media to magnify the campaign so that everybody would be aware of it.

They both acknowledged the media as the greatest platform for public advocacy, adding that once the made-in-Nigeria concept was promoted by the media, every Nigerian would tap into it.

Jacobs said that the association had been carrying out an advocacy campaign for the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products since 2016 in collaboration with ENABLE2, a United Kingdom Department for International Development programme, aimed at improving patronage of locally made products by Nigerians, government, its ministries, departments and agencies through an effective and inward looking public procurement process.

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He said, “Undoubtedly, the government remains the largest single spender in the economy and could drive industrial development and economic growth by increasing its patronage of locally made products.

“Government prefers foreign goods and Nigerian manufacturers lose an average of $3bn annually as a result.”

Jacobs noted that within a short period of the commencement of the advocacy, the campaign had recorded some progress with the call for the review of the current Public Procurement Act; introduction of the executive order on improved government’s patronage of local products and the current build up against smuggling and counterfeiting activities in Nigeria.

He said, “It is an established fact that when we buy foreign goods, we pay the returns to factors used in producing them in the originating countries. That is to say that we pay wages, rent, interest and profit to foreign countries with our local resources.

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“Most intriguing is the fact that when we buy foreign goods, we expand the industrial base of the producing country, thereby creating more jobs there, to the detriment of our local economy.”

Salako-Ajulo said that with the amount of foreign debt Nigeria was accumulating, put at $11bn, the country might become another Greece and Venezuela in the next 10 years if it failed to stop importation of products being produced locally.

She said with 60 per cent home-based public procurement, youth unemployment would reduce by 35 per cent.

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