Embracing “Made in Nigeria” Goods and Services

By Kemi Mobuse - Saturday, March 19, 2016

Following the deep slide of crude oil prices from $140 per barrel in 2013 to the current trading just below $40 per barrel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) made bold, proactive moves to protect the economy from spiraling into chaos.

 First of all, the CBN sought to preserve our foreign reserves and steady the value of the Naira by prohibiting the sale of foreign exchange for the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria. It also strove to make foreign exchange available to manufacturers to import machineries and other intermediate goods to keep their production lines running. The Bank is at the forefront of the current drive to look inwards, dump the national mania for imported products and redirect efforts to “made in Nigeria” goods.

These measures have ensured that the foreign reserves have remained steady at just below 30 billion US Dollars, thus holding up Nigeria’s creditworthiness among our international trade partners.

We are expecting the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, to immediately unfold a national economic agenda that will mobilize all sectors of the economy to embrace the “Made in Nigeria” campaign. This it can do by first of all enunciating a robust fiscal policy support to complement the CBN’s efforts at managing the foreign exchange, inflation and interest rates.

We are disappointed that the so-called Economic Team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has not shown its hands to guide the drivers of the various sectors of the economy to confront the challenges posed by the oil glut. It was this lack of spark that prompted concerned Nigerians like Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, to call for an emergency economic conference, which the Federal Government has accepted in principle to do.

The Federal Government must unleash its various arms to key into the “Made in Nigeria” drive. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) must redouble its efforts to plug the entry points to ensure that unpatriotic Nigerian traders and their foreign collaborators do not undermine the inward-looking measures. This it can do through the imposition of stringent import tariffs to discourage importation.

Happily, the National Assembly has shown its eagerness to play a leading role in the “Made in Nigeria” initiative through the application of appropriate legislative measures. Nigerians must do away with import dependency. They must consume what they produce as well as produce what they consume. That is the only way to increase productivity, diversify the economy and provide jobs for our teeming jobless youth. When that happens, the rate of crimes will come down and Nigeria will be economically prosperous and politically stable. Let us see this economic crisis as an opportunity to escape import dependency.


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