‘How to make Nigerian goods globally competitive’
The Federal Government’s campaign to shore up foreign exchange and improve local production would only work if local production competes favourably with imported goods, said the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
The disclosure was made as the 22nd edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit (NES #22) organised by the NESG ended in Abuja, yesterday.
The outcome of NES #22 and policy recommendations have already been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration and possible implementation.
NESG chairman, Dr. Kyari Bukar, said: “What we want for the country in this campaign of ‘Made in Nigeria’ is to have her products globally competitive, so as to furiously compete with imported goods. There are things government can do on its own in the case of procurement, by legislating that nothing that can be sourced locally is imported. But you cannot stop the private sector operators, for instance, from importing what we can produce locally, if they feel our locally manufactured variant is not qualitative enough.
“The basic element, therefore, is that our products must be competitive and hold their own against imports. Of course, because Nigeria has signed off on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protocols, we cannot completely close our doors to other people. Therefore, what is only going to work for us is ensure that whatever we do here must be able to compete with imports.
“We have articulated all these in the policy recommendation to the Federal Government for consideration and implementation. And we believe the government will adopt the recommendation.”
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who represented President Buhari, said government acknowledges the role played by the private sector, and asked participants to leave the conference venue with a greater commitment to growing a sustainable economy.
Udoma, who expressed the President’s gratitude for support by private sector operators, said: “To spend two and a half days deliberating on economic issues in Nigeria, spending two and a half days supporting government, extending your support and promising to work together with government to solve issues that we face is something we are very grateful for.”
He said the President was looking forward to the report of the summit. “He is waiting anxiously for the recommendation because of the importance of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. He knows the importance of working closely with the private sector. In the course of the last two and a half days, we have heard very useful suggestions. Many of them actually reinforced some of the things we believe in, and are already doing. And so, we feel that it is a reinforcement of the fact that we are moving in the right direction.”
The Minister added: “If we have to solve these problems, we have to work together with the private sector. We have to work with the states, and we have to work with the National Assembly. It is by bringing everybody together that we can achieve the successes we need, want and desire.”