President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to patronise locally manufactured products as government consolidates efforts to tackle recession.
The President made the call, Monday, while declaring open the 22nd edition of the Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
This is just as the President assured that his “greatest desire is that Nigeria moves from import dependence to self-sufficiency in local production and become an export-led economy in goods and services”.
The President, who said he strongly believes that the summit will bring all stakeholders on board to articulate how best the country can stay on course, called on the summit to make useful and realistic recommendations as well as policy initiative and incentives that will enhance the work already being done by this administration.
He also assured that his administration will encourage more local production, improve ease of doing business and environment, transfer of technology and innovation capabilities, improve quality and standards, promote export and change our old attitude and behaviors to made- in-Nigeria products and services.
Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, on his part, assured Nigerians that the present government will implement the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) aimed at restructuring Nigeria’s economy onto the path of sustainable growth.
“As you know, the SIP is anchored on the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to create a more diversified, sustainable and inclusive economy that releases the latent potential of the Nigerian people, communities and natural resource endowments across the nation’s federating States. The strategies for achieving these are set out in the SIP,” the minister said.
These, he added, cut across six thematic areas, one of which is to ‘Diversify the Economy by fast- tracking Industrialisation, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Processing, as well as attracting investment into the Solid Minerals, Tourism and Entertainment Sectors’.
According to him, an important mechanism for doing this is by encouraging a ‘Made- in- Nigeria’ philosophy and preference to take root in all our practices.
Speaking earlier, chairman of the NESG Board Committee of Research and Publication, Dr Adedoyin Salami, had called on the Federal Government to articulate developmental plans and preferences as well as the fiscal and monetary policies to keep the country afloat before the end of 2016.
This is just as Salami frowned at a situation in which Nigeria has an estimated $13 trillion of investors’ money trapped in negative- yielding investments.
He noted that this is happening at a “time when other emerging market countries are beginning to see a sustained and strong recovery in capital flows.”
“Worst still and I draw attention to this very deliberately. As of today, approximately $13 trillion dollars of investor money is invested in assets that at the point of investment you know will produce a negative yield and yet, Nigerian instrument of 20 percent yield and we cannot attract investment. It tells you just how things have changed for us. Three years ago, we seemed to be the toast of the international market.
“So that is capital. What of trade. Now that really is bad news. In 2013, Nigeria had in essence of $90 billion from export revenues. Indeed, the actual figure is $96.7 billion of which $90 billion was from oil with the remaining $6.7 billion from non-oil.”
“This year, we will be lucky if we get to $40 billion partly from shortings but also from lower oil prices and I think it is important at the point of this administration, Mr President, that we have to begin to understand that the dynamics of oil has changed.”
According to Salami, Nigeria’s ease of doing business score has remained very low, despite several promises by previous governments to change the situation for the better.
“For this Summit’s theme to be successful and be translated into and sustained into the Nigerian reality, our economy must come in with certain imperatives. There are at least 3 of them. First, it must be globally competitive and productive.
“Let me re-emphasize that because for me, what made- in- Nigeria speaks to is our ability to create an economy that is productive and globally competitive. But that is not all. It’s got to be inclusive. It’s got to work for all and at the heart of it, it’s got to add value.
“From my understanding of the numbers I have seen. Current economic cum business conditions are far from ideal. However, and we shouldn’t take it that because they are far from ideal therefore, No. Because they are far from ideal, they offer us as a nation an opportunity to revitalize and to re-engineer this economy.”
He also emphasized the need to create and sustain productive economy as well as embark on immediate review policy direction and local content in favour of the local industries and investments.
Salami also underscored the need for Federal Government alongside the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to play major in the areas of agriculture and procurement of made- in- Nigeria goods on sustainable manner.