Nigeria’s Daily Champion -The Federal Government on Tuesday imposed a ban on the use of foreign beverages at official functions and in government offices.
The ban covers tea, coffee, biscuits, fruit juices, water and soft drinks. President Umaru Yar’Adua gave the directive at the official launch of the Made-in-Nigeria products camapign in Abuja. Yar’Adua, who was represented by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, also directed that Nigeria’s foreign aid to other countries must utilize Nigerian products like “Nigerian assembled vehicles and Nigerian made blankets.
“Henceforth, all government contractors must give priority to the use of Nigerian products whose quality is certified by relevant regulatory agencies of government like Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and NAFDAC.
“All uniforms and boots of the armed forces; Army, Navy, Air Force, Police as well as para-military, Customs, Immigration, Prisons and Civil Defence Corps, Road Safety etc must be sourced from Nigerian manufacturers certified by SON,’’ Yar’Adua added.
The president noted that the policy measures were to boost industrial production, check imports and revive the nation’s ailing industrial sector.
He said that the campaign to buy Made-in-Nigeria products was one of the measures meant to counter the negative effects of the global economic crisis on the manufacturing sector.
Yar’Adua reiterated the government’s commitment to the revival of the industrial sector, particularly the textile industry that used to be the most vibrant of the economy.
“With a population of over 140 million people, Nigeria’s market is big enough to sustain a bubbling domestic industrial sector if only Nigerians look inwards at their local products.
“Unfortunately many industries had to close shop due to lack of patronage of their products by Nigerians.
“We mus, therefore, re-orientate ourselves to value what we produce in order to develop a strong and virile industrial base,’’ he said.
The president appealed to the organised private sector to demonstrate a high sense of consumer patriotism by following the footsteps of the government in their procurement programmes.
In his comments, Chief Achike Udenwa, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, called on the government to patronise Made-in-Nigeria products.
“For this campaign to succeed, a strong political will is needed to back it up by patronising Made-in-Nigeria products in government’s procurement programmes.
“This way, the general public will be sensitised to embracing the campaign,’’ he said.
Udenwa said that the nation’s leadership, including both the executive and the legislature, should buy and be seen to be using Made-in-Nigeria products.
He said the target of the campaign was to see that Nigerians valued and took pride in Nigerian products.
He said this could only be achieved if Nigerian textiles as well as other manufactured goods were used by Nigerians in their day-to-day lives.
The minister, however, stressed that the campaign was not about buying poor quality and sub-standard products simply because they are Nigerian.
He, therefore, called on the manufacturing sector to avail itself of the services of the regulatory agencies to produce quality products comparable with foreign ones.
Udenwa noted that the challenges faced by local manufacturers, especially high energy cost and dumping of foreign goods in the Nigerian
market had contributed greatly to the sorry state of the sector.
He said the government was working hard to address the critical infrastructure constraints, adding that it was important to confront smuggling and counterfeit goods that were destroying the economy.
He called on all the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Produce Inspection Services (FPIS) to continue with their good works on standards.
In his remarks, Alhaji Bashir Borodo, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the success of the campaign would be “victory’’ for the country.
“Nigeria is a great country and God has endowed us with highly resourceful citizens and abundant natural resources.
“The products that emerge from the combination of these two assets should therefore command our pride and our patronage,’’ he said.
Borodo recalled that MAN had started this campaign more than 30 years ago and had since then continued to carry out the campaign through various media and corporate representations.
He also noted that the association was facing challenges that hampers its success.
Such challenges, he said, included inadequate infrastructure, especially power, lack of patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products by Nigerians and a dearth of business friendly funding windows.
Others are bureaucratic bottleneck and failure of government services and utilities, especially at the ports and the huge influx of foreign goods.
Ban the use of foreign products at official functions and in government offices: