“No army on earth can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo
Back in February 2016, before Nigeria’s economic recession was announced, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, advocated for Nigeria to pursue an economic self-sufficiency strategy by patronising more ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods, services and businesses. Since then, given the potency of the ‘Made in Nigeria’ idea, throngs of individuals and organisations have keyed into this initiative by hosting a variety of events that are aimed at promoting Nigerian businesses.
This week, against the backdrop of Nigeria’s economic recession, NESG, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, has adopted the Senate President’s ‘Made in Nigeria’ theme as a viable alternative to improve Nigeria’s dwindling economy.
The CEO of the NESG, Mr. Jaiyeola Laoye, has also characterised the ‘Made in Nigeria’ initiative as an integral part of Nigeria’s short, medium and long-term economic growth and development — emphasising that Nigeria’s perception as an import-dependent economy has led to dwindling foreign reserves, pressure on the Naira and negative economic growth.
This is why earlier this year, at the height of the commencement of the Senate’s ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign, Saraki harped on the need for the National Assembly to embark on the amendment of the Public Procurement Act. This amendment, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday, June 16th, 2016, compelled agencies, departments and ministries of the federal government to only buy locally made goods.
Commentators have likened the Senate’s plan to promote ‘Made in Nigeria’ to the ‘Buy American Act’ of 1933, which compelled the U.S. government and its agencies to first patronise US-made products, before foreign alternatives.
Additionally, the People’s Republic of China has similar provisions that stipulate that domestic goods, services and projects have to be used in the government’s procurement process, with the exception of when the required goods are not available in China, and the procurement items are to be used outside China.
Moving forward, it is clear that Nigeria’s fastest route to economic growth and job creation, is by pursuing an export-led strategy that will see ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods being utilised both at home and abroad.
What this means is that to remain competitive and relevant, Nigerian businesses will need to improve on the quality of their goods and services, to increase both local and international demands of their products.
At this point, given that the Public Procurement Act has been passed and transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence, it is important that this bill is prioritised, fast-tracked, and sent to President Buhari for his immediate assent.
– Fabiyi writes from Lagos