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What should be a pointer to the need for total support for the policy of the current federal government that is strenuously promoting economic development through a reform agenda on Nigeria Made products and services is its endorsement by the African Development Bank through its Report that praised Nigeria’s initiative on “Buy Made-in-Nigeria” products.  It also commends the policy of “Buy Africa” campaign that has been evolved to shape the continents’ consumer preferences. Nigeria’s leading the way is a good option, given the predicted economic clash of global powers angling for more economic space, particularly in the developing economies.  Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERPG) has the capacity to mitigate effects of the ‘’clash of the titans’’ that is already giving indications of heightened global economic reconfiguration.

 THE MADE IN NIGERIA POLICY: For too long, we have been complacent over the attitude of the ordinary Nigerian who prefers foreign products to locally made items. This trend has injured the economy of the nation with the strain exerted on the country’s foreign reserves through wrong policies that open Nigeria’s borders to all forms of products and commodities. The ERPG seeks to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth, catalyze macroeconomic stability, foster diversification of the economy, and enhance social inclusion as well as governance. Embracing Nigeria Made products and service are veritable means of arresting the negative culture of wasting the nation’s hard-earned resources on frivolous items. This policy whose implementation is being accorded huge attention will ultimately boost enterprise competitiveness and expand Nigeria’s economic base.

  A STRATEGIC POLICY INITIATIVE: The Made in Nigeria campaign is one of the strategic decisions by the current administration that must consistently pay the desired attention to both creating the awareness on the part of the citizenry for enhanced quality of lives, jobs and also wealth creation. For too long, we have used our resources to indirectly service the economies of privileged economies in a world where national interests should ideally occupy the front space in all economies. This is one of the reasons why the 36 States and 774 local governments must do a rethink and go for collaboration with the federal government to embrace this policy whose implementation is being supervised by the Commodities Inspectorate Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment.

POLITICS APART: I used to look in the direction of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget & Economic Planning as offices without closing times until I discovered that officials of the Commodities and Products Inspectorate of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment are held back till as late as 8.00pm most working days by the energetic Director/Head of Department, Mrs. Omololu Opeewe, a very professional woman regarded as the institutional memory of the ministry for Nigeria Made products and services. It is good to highlight the fact that States and local governments are autonomous and decided the policies to implement. I think these two tiers of government should buy into this programme, an ambitious plan of economic diversification, infrastructure investment and social spending which has been moulded to boost Nigeria’s domestic production capacity and mitigate the impact of future oil price shocks.

ALTERNATIVES FOR FOREIGN RESERVES: One of the parastatals supervised by the Ministry, the Nigerian Exports Promotion Council has also drawn up ‘’The NEPC “Zero Oil Plan” to shore up activities in the non-oil sector.  The Zero Oil plan proposes increments to production outputs for 11 products cutting across solid minerals, agriculture and hydrocarbon resources.  NEPC’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Segun Awolowo has disclosed that it also aims to tap the Diaspora market for Nigerian non-oil export through initiatives that include encouragement of the private sector engage in farming for  agricultural products like cassava (tapioca), corn, cocoa, millet, palm oil, peanuts, rice, rubber, sorghum, and yams.  An activity tagged: The Nigerian Cuisine Beyond Borders, and Diaspora Export of Nigerian Products (DENOP) are some of the other items. These are good policy measures for Nigeria that accounts for nearly 20% of Africa’s GDP and about 75% of the West Africa economy. Despite this dominance, its exports to rest of Africa are estimated at 12.7%, and only 3.7% of total trade is within the Economic Community of West African States.

NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC OUTLOOKAFDB’s EARLY WARNING SIGNALS:  An AfDB Report predicts that Africa’s labour force will be nearly 40 percent larger by 2030. If current trends continue, only half of new labour force entrants will find employment, and most of the jobs will be in the informal sector. This implies that close to 100 million young people could be without jobs; and that could be disastrous for any society. The rapid growth achieved in Africa in the past two decades has not been pro-employment. Analysis of growth episodes reveals better employment outcomes when the growth episodes were led by manufacturing, suggesting that industrialization is a robust pathway to rapid job creation. What is there to be corrected? AfDB says ‘’African economies have prematurely de-industrialized as the reallocation of labour has tilted toward services, limiting the growth potential of the manufacturing sector.’’ Here lies the strengthening of the manufacturing sub-sector through initiatives put in place by the Bank of Industry.

AfDB goes further to identify some factors to be removed. These include the informality trap and chronic unemployment, that makes it mandatory for Africa needs to industrialize. ‘’Key factors impeding industrialization, particularly manufacturing growth, are limited firm dynamism. ‘’Firm growth and survival are held back by corruption, an unconducive regulatory environment, and inadequate infrastructure. ‘’Reviving Africa’s industrialization requires a commitment to improve the climate that supports firm growth. ‘’Industrial policies could benefit from assessing production knowledge and identifying competitive products to inform the design of robust national and sub-national industrial strategies.

MARCHING TOWARDS PROSPERITY: The bold reforms being implemented have to be brought to the attention of the target population; which the Ministry of Trade & Investment is currently doing. It is promoting local investments and utilization of local raw materials in order to boost Nigeria’s economy. Between 2010-2016, says AfDB, exports declined in all the economies except South Africa, which is more insulated from global commodity price shocks; while imports rose in Algeria and South Africa. This inform the decision of government through the CPI to ease bureaucratic burdens and stimulate local production and consumption of Nigeria Made products and services in collaboration with stakeholders, particularly the private sector, and the rest of the target audience, including industrialists, producers, consumers and marketers of these products and services, to sustainable economic transformation

POLICY IMPLICATIONS: If all these must materialize as envisaged, all Nigerians must be prepared to support the NIGERIA MADE policy of the federal government.  It is imperative that collaboration among the three tiers of government must be heightened at policy levels. Additionally, all these good intentions and their effects must reach opinion leaders, stakeholders and the ordinary Nigeria who resides in rural areas. The Commodities & Products Inspectorate (CPI) Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment is moving to strategically create the desired sustainable awareness and attitudinal changes and guidance through policy implementation. It has consistently invited attention locally and abroad to the fact that Nigeria can develop phenomenally, only if all Nigerians take proper steps to reposition the country for greatness. Substantial gains have been recorded in the past few years. Investors are being invited to note that Nigeria is abundantly endowed with human and material resources that could sustain a broad-based growth and development, particularly in the non-oil exports sector.

ABEOKUTA – APRIL 2019 THE CPI has achieved much in its drive for utilization of Nigeria-Made products and bringing the buyer and seller together. People can now purchase Nigeria mad items online and that shows that quality materials are being produced. The level of patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods in increasing as awareness heightens. End of this month, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment moves to Abeokuta to promote exhibition of Adire fabrics (Tie & Dye) and dialogue with Adire producers, purchasers, government institutions and private organizations on the need to boost this trade and its products.  The meeting will acquaint participants with measures being implemented to encourage introduce branding, quality and encouragement. More importantly, the advocacy campaign will feature hoteliers and others engaged in the hospitality industry, tours, Airline operators, and stakeholders in the education sector, among others, that could use local fabrics as uniforms.

HELPING OURSELVES:   Nothing should prevent government offices and homes of top government functionaries, from using well designed and durable Nigeria Made fabrics as curtains.  What we need to do now is to help ourselves. Nigerians at home should give preference to locally made products. Others in the Diaspora should go for Nigerian products and services banks where available.  Go for Nigerian products; import Nigerian products from where you reside abroad for use overseas.  Please eat in Nigerian restaurants that are becoming available in all parts of the world as a result of the industry and commitment to the pursuit of whichever goals we want to attain.  There must be attitudinal changes, propelled by good policies and programmes, designed and implemented to promote national development. The Nigeria Made products and services policy is one of those programmes that will stand the test of time. It is important for Nigerians locally and abroad to support this initiative.

COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY: Building an economy is not the responsibility of any government per se. Government must create the enabling environment for the private sector to take the lead. The Federal Government sees these remarkable achievements as not only heart-warming but also as a source of inspiration to all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. I have always had an unfeigned regard for our brothers and sister abroad. Nigeria, as a nation, may have suffered from the loss of thousands of highly educated professionals, since the early 1980’s through the notorious brain drain syndrome which became attractive as a result of a down turn in the nation’s socio-economy. But we must move forward as a driver that focuses his gaze permanently on the mirror is bound to crash. We could jointly help our nation as it grapples with the challenges of nation-building which, invariably, demands the involvement of every citizen wherever they may be domiciled.

REMITTANCES BY THE NIGERIAN DIASPORA: Today, there is an estimated 15 million Nigerians who live in the diaspora from where they make their own contributions to national growth and development. In addition to their participation in the politics of their host countries, these Nigerians living in the Diaspora provide substantial contributions especially by way of remittances to the economy. From available records, they sent home $21 billion in 2015, to make Nigeria the sixth largest receiver of remittances in the world. Also, in 2017 alone, these same Nigerians, according to the World Bank sent home US$22 billion, the highest in the Sub-Saharan region, and the fifth highest in the world., an improvement on the Diaspora remission of 2015. This is a significant infusion into the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Nigeria is regarded as one of the top 20 developing countries receiving Diaspora remittances.

REMITTANCES BY NIGERIAN DIASPORA 800 PERCENT MORE THAN FOREIGN AID: In addition to these transfers, there are several other ways in which members of the Nigerian Diaspora contribute to poverty reduction and development in their homeland.  In 2018, the amount sent to Nigeria, according to PriceWaterCoopers, peaked at US$25 Billion. PwC’s Report tagged: “Nigeria Economic Outlook: Top 10 Themes For 2019” revealed that:  ‘’remittances to Nigeria represent 6.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and translate to 83 per cent of the Federal Government budget in 2018’’ The Report added that: ‘’Nigeria’s migrant remittance inflows was also seven times larger than the net Official Development Assistance (foreign aid) received in 2017 of $3.359 billion, stating that, “Nigeria’s biggest export is not oil; it is actually people, because of the remittances coming in’’  What these patriotic Nigerians send home is about 800 per cent more than the Official Development Assistance sent to Nigeria by foreign nations; upon which a lot of noise is made.

The Thabo Mbeki Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa (IFFs) from Africa put together in 2011, by the 4th Joint African Union Commission/United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (AUC/ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development discovered that at least US$50 Billion was being cleverly siphoned out of Africa by foreigners, thus frustrating Africa’s accelerated and sustained development, relying as much as possible on its own resources. As at 2018, the figure has gone higher to US$80 Billion dollars. These are warehoused in financial institutions of foreign countries which turn round to accuse Africa of being corrupt.  Mbeki’s team, indeed, noted that what is illegally taken out of Africa by foreign accomplices is much much much much higher than the inflow of Official Development Assistance.  Finally, one of the most potent ways of moving forward economically is to support measures like the Nigeria Made products and services policy that would ensure that the economy is buoyed up through reinvestments that makes money available in Nigeria for development. If foreign powers devise means of crashing crude oil prices, there is apparently no harm in Nigerians ensuring that their nation’s economy grows by supporting measures that aid economic development. Nigerians in the Diaspora certainly have the capacity to bail the nation out,  if only there are assurances that their investments would be safe, and would not be affected by political instability. Nigeria’s Dry Bones Will Surely Rise Again!

FEEL FREE to contact the underlisted officials of the COMMODITIES & PRODUCTS INSPECTORATE DEPARTMENT of THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY, TRADE & INVESTMENT; Old Federal Secretariat, Garki, Abuja; at the email and mobile phone contacts listed below:
Kaura: +2348029578289 Email: kaurairimiya@yahoo.com,
Umar: +234-8033116733; Email: umarahmed62@yahoo.co.uk, 
Kafiya: +234-8057126619 Email: chitex238@yahoo.com,


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