• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Start-ups push for patronage of made-in-Nigeria products

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If Nigeria will diversify its economy away from oil and create jobs for its teeming youths, the federal government must make it compulsory for governments at all levels to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods. This, analysts say, would boost the operation of small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Dwindling oil revenues have depleted the nation’s external reserves perilously, leaving the country with no other option than to diversify. Given the numerical strength of SMEs in the country, estimates validating enormous contributions of SMEs to Nigeria’s growth would not be debatable.

“Government needs to place a ban on foreign goods and services used in all government establishments and make it compulsory for government at all levels to patronise only made-in-Nigeria goods and services,” David Omololu Aiyeola, executive secretary, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Lagos chapter, said in an e-mail response to questions.

“If this is done, it will boost the growth of SMEs in the country,” he added.

According to analysts, local goods, branded as inferior in the past, are now seeing rapid improvements in quality, boosting their chances of compete with international market players.

Frank Udemba Jacobs, president, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), had earlier canvassed for the patronage of locally produced goods, stressing that it was erroneous for anybody to think that made-in-Nigerian goods were inferior.

Nike Ademola, a student of Unilag, said, “I use to buy hand bags imported from China before, but within five months the bag would tear off. Now I buy our locally handmade handbags. They are far better than the ones from China.”

“Our products are better now, unlike before when you could not even buy it,” Ademola said.

The federal government has done several campaigns in the past aimed at encouraging the purchase of locally made products. But all these have been unsuccessful. Consistent importation of goods that can be made locally affects small-scale manufacturers mostly, as they can hardly compete in such a market laden with cheap and sub-standard products preffered by consumers.

Analysts say the government must do more in this area, as SMEs have the potential to promote domestic-led growth in new and existing industries and strengthen the resilience of the economy in a competitive and challenging way.

“SMEs in the country today have not performing credibly well as they ought to, because Nigerians are not even patronising their products. We prefer imported items than our own locally produced commodities,” said African Farmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, X-RAY Farms.

Local manufacturers must also ensure that they meet up with international standards, analysts add.

 

Josephine Okojie