The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says the craze for foreign goods by Nigerians has led to closure of local industeries, high unemployment rate, low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and capital flight.
Mr Vitus Ekeocha, the state Director of NOA in Imo, said this at a one-day interactive forum on “Patronising Made-in-Nigeria Goods: Buy Nigerian, Eat Nigerian, Wear Nigeria” held in Owerri.
He said the forum was organised by the agency to sensitise and re-orientate Nigerians to change their attitude towards locally made goods, revive local industries, create employment and restore national pride.
Ekeocha said it was imperative that the country should sustain the national campaign to sensitise and re-orientate the people to change their attitude toward locally made goods to achieve the purpose.
He said that for some time now, the low patronage of Nigerian made products in comparison with imported products in markets had been of grave concern to every patriotic Nigerian.
“This low patronage of Nigerian goods is further compounded by the fact that domestic manufacturers, in reaction to the prevailing negative attitude toward Nigerian products, have now resorted to deceptive branding of their products by packaging them with foreign labels and tags,” he said.
Ekeocha said the objectives of the campaign was to sentisitise Nigerians to patronise and use made-in-Nigeria products, educate Nigerains on the implications of preference for foreign goods on the national economy and to encourage Nigerians to take pride in their own products.
“We strongly believe that if this campaign is sustained, Nigerians will patronise and use made-in-Nigeria products which will reduce the rate of unemployment in the country and revive moribund industeries.”
Ekeocha called on relevant stakeholders, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector as well as the regulatory agencies, to collaborate with NOA to ensure that the camapaign succeeded and the GDP grew.
In a goodwill message, the Coordinator of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Imo State, Mrs Comfort Echebiri, represented by Adaora Ukozor, Senior Standard Officer in SON, expressed regret that Nigerians cherished foreign goods more than local products.
“Patronising made-in- Nigeria goods should not be thrivalised.
“Nigeria has been striving to revive its economy. Heavy dependence on foreign made products is a threat to the nations economy. Nigeria can achieve economic growth by people patronizing made- in -Nigeria goods and services,” she said.
Mr Tommy Anyawu, the Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Imo State, said that government Executive Order 3 encouraged all government ministeries and agencies to buy locally manufactured goods.
He said it also mandated purchasing agencies of government to increase their purchase of products manufactured in Nigeria.
Anyanwu said government had started reviewing tariff on imported raw materials to encourage local producers and introducing policies that would cushion manufacturing challenges.
Anyanwu said that Nigerian products were often of higher quality than foreign goods, but Nigerian manufacturers were being encumbered by cost of production.
Some participants drawn from the local government areas, various ministries and organizations called on MAN and SON to prevail on the government to handle the issue of power supply.
They said government should also check activities of manufacturers of unwholesome goods.
They also said they could not understand the reason local rice is more expensive than foreign rice, full of sand and scarce.