Chris Steven, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday said thay the Federal Government is institutionalizing the patronage of locally-made products among its Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the National Media Launch of the “Buy Made-in-Nigeria” Campaign.
“The Federal Government is not just paying lip service to this buy Made-in-Nigeria. We have taken concrete steps to actualize it. It is true that the Federal Executive Council at one of its meetings resolved that the Bureau of Public Procurement Act must be amended in a manner that will give more emphasis and advantage to made in Nigeria products.
”However, we have also realized that less than 30 percent of government spending ever gets to the level of Bureau for Public Procurement, which means that we must start a ‘root and branch’ reform.
This campaign must go down to the level of Permanent Secretaries and Ministerial approvals so that we can actually be able to encourage Nigerians, because as long as we do not encourage the buying of Made-in-Nigeria products, what we are going to do is that we are going to continue exporting jobs to other countries and importing unemployment,” he said.
Mohammed emphasized that the youths cannot be gainfully employed across the country unless Nigerians change their consumption pattern by patronizing Made-in-Nigeria products in order to give a boost to the local economy.
He said the government is taking advantage of all the digital platforms on the Internet to connect with the youths and convince them to take ownership of the buy Made-in-Nigeria Campaign, in order to secure their future.
The Minister said the Federal Government is committed to encouraging local manufacturers by enhancing the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government is determined to ensure that we move at least 20 steps up the rank of world global standard of doing business and in the last couple of months, we have achieved some milestone. We have, for instance, been able to achieve 31 major reforms across eight major indicators in the area of Ease of Doing Business, starting from movement of passengers and goods to the time it takes you to register a company.
He said the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) clinic taking place across the country is a deliberate strategy to make available all the stakeholders involved in MSMEs operations, with a view to easing all the bureaucratic bottlenecks to improve the performance of MSMEs.
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, harped on the need to create a conducive environment for local manufacturers to thrive.
“It’s one thing to say buy Made-in-Nigeria, it’s another thing to make it easy for them to make things in Nigeria and to reduce the cost of making things in Nigeria. Consumers are rational and we are not necessarily forcing them.
It’s a campaign so it means that one of the most important responsibilities we have as a people and as a government is to reduce the cost of doing business; to make the cost of producing things here cheaper and more affordable,” he said.
In his message to the occasion, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Frank Jacobs, who was represented by the Managing Director of Interior Woodworks Limited, Mr. Odun Emasealu, expressed appreciation to the Buhari Administration for keying into the buy Made-in-Nigeria campaign and taking it beyond lip service to concrete action.