In a stride to boost the local economy through the campaign to promote locally made products, the Ministry of Information opened the exhibition for Made-in-Nigeria products opened on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja.
The exhibition will end on Friday, March 7, 2014.
Speaking in his address, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, welcomed all invited guests and exhibitors applauding their efforts in being part of the event aimed at showcasing locally made products as part of a deliberate policy to stimulate the growth of the nation’s economy.
Maku said: “Indeed it becomes crucial at this point in our Nation’s transformation to sensitise Nigerians to understand the linkage between producing and patronising local products, on the one hand, and growth of the economy and job creation on the other.”
He added: “In a global competitive market for products, every country wants to produce and export products to other countries while cutting down on the importation of finished goods in order to create more jobs at home and curb capital flight.”
The minister pointed out that the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is implementing various policies in different sectors of the economy to encourage local production of goods and create wealth and employment.
He said that the huge population of Nigeria alone is an advantage to boost economic growth if citizens agree to patronise locally made products.
Maku said: “I can confirm to you that because of the renewed commitment of Mr. President to growing the economy by providing the needed incentives and creating the enabling environment, Nigeria today produces vehicles from start to finish at Innoson Motors in Nnewi Anambra State which is creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Following the successes recorded in that sector within a short period of time, a new automotive policy has come on board to encourage the manufacture of made-in-Nigerian cars. This singular policy has the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.”
“Because of the new automotive policy, Nissan promised to roll out its first set of made-in-Nigeria cars by April this year.
“Nigeria is working assiduously to exit rice importation by 2015. Through support for farmers in terms of improved seeds and capital, last year alone 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice were produced in the country during the dry season farming. This development gave rise to the establishment of several new rice mills in different parts of the country to process the rice produced in the country.
He pointed out that only local food is served in the Presidential Villa, “President Goodluck Jonathan made it a policy that only Nigerian foods would be served in the Presidential Villa in addition to promoting the consumption of cassava bread, which was discovered to be the best in the world,” he said.
In his address, the minister stated that a new National Industrial Revolution Plan was unveiled by President Jonathan to serve as a roadmap for the industrialisation of the country. It is a strategic platform that would link agricultural production and industrial processes in Nigeria.
“Through the Local Content Policy in oil and gas sector, Nigerians are now key players in both the upstream and downstream which was not the case in the past. The policy has exposed Nigerians to operations in the oil sector and encouraged them to develop the needed capacity to run the system.
“Since the coming of this administration, you might have noticed that contracts below N5 billion are awarded to Nigerian companies for them to demonstrate the capacity to handle such projects so that the government would encourage them in that direction.
“The Federal Government is also implementing a policy to promote the use of Nigerian fabrics among civil servants. The Federal Ministry of Information had complied fully with the directive of the Head of Service of the Federation for staff to wear only Nigerian fabrics to office on Fridays and those who are consistent collect prizes.
“Despite these efforts at stimulating economic growth, what is glaring is the elevation of the consumption and usage of foreign foods and products in the country by the elite. Of course this could be attributed to the disorientation that emanated from colonial rule where the colonies were merely seen as producers of raw materials and consumers of finished imported products. We have to change our orientation towards unbridled consumption and usage of foreign products for our economy to survive and grow for the betterment of all Nigerians and posterity.
“The challenges associated with local production of goods are well known to the government and concerted efforts are being made to surmount the challenges.
“Key in the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President is the provision of critical infrastructure. Today, the question of power is being addressed in a systematic manner that opened up the sector for private sector investment. Let me assure you that the present administration is committed to boosting and stabilising power supply in the country to support the growth of small and medium enterprises. By the time the ten power plants constructed by this administration come on stream, there will be stability in power supply.
“Transportation, which is critical to be movement of goods across the country, has been revived through a multi-dimensional approach that addresses the deficit in road infrastructure, railways, aviation and inland waterways.
“Within the last one year, 32 roads were constructed or rehabilitated across the country covering about 4000 kilometres while the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) rehabilitated and maintained 20,000 kilometres of road networks across the country making 24,000 kilometres of the road networks in Nigeria motorable.
“11 airports have been remodelled or reconstructed in different parts of the country to give Nigerians befitting aviation services. Some airports have been designated for the movement of cargo while new cargo terminals are also being constructed in some of our airports.
“Train services which collapsed before the advent of this administration have been revived. Trains are now conveying goods and passengers from Lagos to Kano while the rehabilitation of the line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is nearing completion.
“The present administration is also exploring the inland waterways to ease the movement of goods across the country. Already the Onitsha Port has been completed and would soon be concessioned. Work on Baro Port in Niger State is over 90% complete while work is going on in earnest at Oguta Port in Imo State, and Jamata Port in Kogi State. This is in addition to the dredging of the River Niger from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State.
“Therefore invited guests and exhibitors, this event is organised to redirect our minds to patronise Nigerian products as part of our contribution to support the drive of Mr. President to make Nigeria self-sufficient. I therefore, urge all of us to deeply imbibe the philosophy and principle behind the local content policy of the government as a support for Made-In-Nigeria products.”
He ended by wishing all guests and exhibitors success in the event hoping the initiative will further give impetus to the Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan, and spring up new ideas on boosting the productive sector of Nigeria.
He urged them to patronise Made-In-Nigeria products and consume local foods which are more nutritious and healthy for the body.