Monday, March 8, 2021
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We had, and still have soft spot for Nigeria and African Diaspora. Because of our passion, we wrote profusely about the need to implement the policy of ‘’Right of First Refusal’’ though we claim no credit for it. It is possible, the way government operates for this policy to have been undergoing fine-tuning even before we thought about it. Those who draft and approve policies cannot afford to allow loopholes and would, therefore, waste some time crossing the necessary letters. But the important thing was that we thought same way for the common good.  How COVID-19 is impacting diaspora remittances to Africa

Again,  we invite attention to the plight of the Nigerian Diaspora and Nigeria itself.   PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational consulting firm, reports that these amounts usually come in trickles, meaning that the few hundred dollars or pounds being sent by the millions of people abroad are what amount to billions at the end of the year. However, due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy of the United States, China, and high-income countries in the Middle East and Europe, the World Bank projects that remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa will fall by 23.1% from $48 billion in 2019 to $37 billion in 2020. Supported by strong economic conditions in high-income countries, remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 4% to $48 billion in 2019.  However, due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy of the United States, China, and high-income countries in the Middle East and Europe, the World Bank projects that remittances  to Sub-Saharan Africa will fall by 23.1% from $48 billion in 2019 to $37 billion in 2020.

PREFERENCE FOR NIGERIANS: The news emerged two years ago, that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken further steps to boost Nigeria’s economy through the adoption of policies made in furtherance of the execution of the Presidential Executive Order 5 that deals with the inclusion of Nigerians in the production cycle and to enable them to get preferential opportunities for jobs that would be created in the country.  Mr. President directed all Nigerian security agencies and hospitals to patronize local textile companies for their uniforms, and also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPR) to ensure ministries, agencies and departments comply with the directive. Additionally, Buhari directed other uniform services and hospitals to patronize the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) industries to grow the economy. This is a piece of very useful information for promoters of Nigeria Made products and services. We wrote this piece when the good news emerged mainly to sensitize our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora; even though it concerns all Nigerians.

THE PROCLAMATION:  In a proclamation entitled “Presidential Executive Order for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology,’’ President Muhammadu Buhari, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the Constitution, signed on Friday, February 2, 2018 the Executive Order No. 5 (“EO5”) by which all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (“MDAs”) of government were directed to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects and maximise in-country capacity in all contracts and transactions with science, engineering and technology components. The Executive Order took effect immediately.

This is an realistic and bold step may that would certainly protect and keep local industries running and improve the nation’s economy. It is also projected that the gesture will form the plank for generating thousands of jobs. The first step towards actualizing this encouraging objective actually commenced in 2016, with the inauguration of 283 locally made vehicles purchased by the Federal Road Safely Commission. The injection of 283 vehicles to the FRSC’s fleet was said to be the first time such large number of operational vehicles would be introduced at a go in the 28 year history of the corps. Corps Marshall, Boboye Oyeyemi commented that the approval for the vehicles’ purchase symbolized “the sustained intent of the Federal Government to raise the bar on road safety management”

MANUFACTURING: The Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association, speaking through Tokunbo Aromolaran, the Managing Director of Volkswagen Assembling plant had urged the National Assembly to tow the same line by patronizing locally made vehicles. He alleged that N3.9bn was spent on the purchase of 108 high-end Sport Utility Vehicles for each of its senators, at a unit cost of N36.5m. Aromolaran stated that NAMA also said the Senate could have saved about N1.47bn on the amount voted for the vehicles had it opted for Nigeria-assembled SUVs. Aromolaran had urged the federal government to work-out incentives and strategy to accelerate the successful take-off of the companies. The vehicle manufacturing plants in Nigeria include Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Coscharis Motors, Nissan Nigeria, and Stallion Autos. It is possible that Mr. President might compel ministers, chief executive officers, directors and other top officials of the government to use only vehicles built in Nigeria as official cars.

“A viable manufacturing industry is capable of creating huge multiplier effects for the Nigerian economy and society as this gesture would give necessary support by introducing attractive incentives to woo major investors. It is apparently ‘’the way to reawaken our productive capacity and create a future for the children of the poor and downtrodden. Having been associated with encouraging the growth of the economy through utilization of local contents, TERRIFIC HEADLINES has at different times raised the consciousness of the citizenry, and particular Nigerians in the Diaspora to take advantage of these new measures by investing in Nigeria. There is nowhere like home.

 EXECUTIVE ORDER 5: Mr. President’s Executive Order 5 seeks inclusion of Nigerians in the productive cycle. The policy is directed at improving local content in science, engineering and technology procurement. The minister expressed the need for local engineers to play prominent role in all construction projects, stressing that they have the capacity to compete with expatriates. With the order, Nigerian engineers would be in charge of their home affairs and grow with time. The Presidency had in 2018 given vent to Executive Order 5 by a 16-page presidential order and decision taken in pursuit of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), meant to restore economic growth through diversification and macro-economic stability. This initiative would most certainly create jobs locally and stimulate productive activity that facilitates inclusion.

The focal point of Order 5 was a commitment to Made in Nigeria. We cannot grow economically if we continue with the pattern of preference for imported products. Nigerians must accept indigenous products for the benefit of all of us. The benefits of Executive Order 5 include science, technology and innovation (STI), increasing the quantum of value created in the Nigerian economy and promoting made in Nigeria campaign. Also, to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contract, support foreign companies who showed a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous capacity development and enable Nigerian companies to lead in any consultancy services, including joint venture relationships relating to law, engineering, ICT, architecture, procurement, and quantity surveying.

I know that there are highly committed and dedicated officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment who have worked diligently and with total dedication to bring about attitudinal changes in the crusade to promote Nigeria Made products. They are usually very welcoming and most times in their offices, moving the campaign and policy implementation aspect to the next level. Other areas addressed are processing approvals for expatriate quota, entry permits and visas into Nigeria and issuance of permits. Someone once alleged that it is possible to find expatriates on the streets who come in as experts only to be marketing video cassettes on the streets. It is glad to know that this policy tightens possibility of making Nigerians vulnerable to foreign manpower and addressing unemployment since demand would boost production and create jobs.

 THE RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: The new policy also “prohibits the ministry of interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.” It’s not a blanket ban though. The executive order states that foreigners will be considered for jobs “where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.” The executive order also tells government agencies to “give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts. Government has come out to explain that all these policy initiatives are in line with Muhamadu Buhari’s vision of a “Nigeria that produces what it consumes, hence it aims at boosting local production and guaranteeing more patronage for local industries.

 IMPLEMENTATION: Some issues arise. I have always believed that Nigerians are highly intelligent and imaginative people. It is sure that having heard the announcement of the new policy as released yesterday, Nigerians with business acumen would have started writing proposals about manufacturing and related matters. Two prominent issues work against the implementation of reforms in this part of the world. Reforms directed at the wrong audience would never work. And reforms that are not adequately publicized would never produce the desired effect.

This is why we promised our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora that we would publish details of EXECUTIVE ORDER 5 as a matter of patriotism and because we wish them well. Having interacted with them for several years, I know the worth of these highly endowed Nigerians whose remittances annually are sufficient to fund a federal government’s annual budget. And of course, our loyal readers are provided the opportunity of going through the document as we make efforts to effectively build a greater Nigeria. God must help Nigeria.

Please go on this link to read Executive Order 5, as Proclaimed by Mr.President. https://www.osgf.gov.ng/storage/app/media/pdf/PR SIDENTIAL-EXECUTIVE-ORDER-5.compressed.pdf

May the Good Lord Bless Nigeria

 

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