It is heartwarming that some Nigerians are realising the need to patronise ‘made in Nigeria goods’. Even though such acts of patriotism had been long in coming, it is still befitting that the country and citizens should be proud of locally manufactured products. That is why we applaud the amendment by Senator Sam Egwu representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District to the Public Procurement Act, which makes it compulsory to patronise made in Nigeria goods. Adducing reason for the amendment, Egwu said that until the Act was amended, there would be a gap between the consumption of locally-made goods and foreign ones. According to him, the Federal Government spends billions of naira to import cars into the country, while the local car manufacturers are not being patronised. We are indeed scandalised that in spite of being blessed with abundant raw materials, including having the largest market in Africa, Nigerians still saturate the country with foreign made goods.
Unfortunately, such unpatriotic attitude is responsible for the rising unemployment in the country with the attendant high level of crimes and other anti-social vices. It is disheartening that since Independence more than 55 years ago, Nigeria hardly boosts of any large scale manufacturing capability. Rather, the country is seen as dumping ground for all sorts of inferior goods from all over the world. Not only is such ostentatious consumption culture responsible for the depletion of our scarce foreign exchange, it is making it difficult for the country to master the technological know-how to compete in what is increasingly becoming a globalised village.
There is no denying the fact that the respect accorded to any country in the world is a function of its technological advancement. No one would take any nation serious within the international community unless such country is able to manufacture those goods and services demanded by other countries. That is why countries such as the United States of America (USA), Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany and other developed western nations, including developing ones as Brazil, India and South Africa command political and economic influence beyond the confines of their geographical boundaries. Sadly, the problem with Nigeria is not the lack of manpower or willingness of the citizens to compete. The problem lies squarely on a lack of political will by successive administrations to put the country on the path of industrial and technological growth.
Rather, every administration sees it core duty as that of catering to a small coterie of ethnic and party loyalists, while corralling as much of the country’s commonwealth for selfish and narrow interests. For example. It beats the imagination that Aba, in Abia State has over the years been known and seen as the country’s foremast workshop for small scale artisans and industrialists, yet no past or present administrations have deemed it wise to encourage such groups of entrepreneurs to excel technologically and produce goods of international standards for export to earn much needed foreign exchange. It bears repeating that countries such as China, Indonesia, India and South Korea began their industrial revolutions by supporting local sweatshops before breaking out to the world as respected technological giants. Unless Nigerian leaders get their priorities right, the country would continue to remain a rural and undeveloped backwater.