The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, has revealed that the ministry would soon launch a nationwide campaign to encourage Nigerians to patronize made-in-Nigeria products. Abubakar stated this during a campaign tagged, ” Patronise Naija Products,’’ while signing a footwear production agreement between Global Smartfit Nigeria Ltd and Labora Shoes Ltd of South Africa in her office.
Nigeria has great production potentials, and this initiative when executed will encourage manufacturers in places like Lagos, Aba and Onitsha to come up with better and high quality products. It will also serve as sensitization to Nigerians to reduce the import rate of foreign products.
Mrs Aisha Abubakar who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Aminu Bisala, appraised the partnership deal which is aimed at boosting local manufacturing of leather and other footwear products.
“This venture is very commendable and there is no reason why it cannot be supported. Already, the ministry is furthering the campaign for made-in-Nigeria products, for us in Nigeria to consume what we produce and produce what we consume, and even go beyond that to export. We have the people, we have the brain, we have the resources, and so there is nothing stopping us. As a nation we are proud of our commodities, we are proud of our products.
It is for the producers to ensure quality. An average Nigerian wants value for money and that is why possibly in the past you find them patronizing even substandard foreign goods with the thinking that they are getting quality. So, this is a laudable venture, and along with the Patronise Naija Products campaign, which we are going to launch very soon; we are going to support all similar initiatives not only in shoe production, but in all areas of SMEs (small and medium enterprises).
And I assure you that the government is doing all it can to further that cause. That is the spirit of this government, we are going to ensure the patronage of made in Nigeria products with all the patriotism of Nigerians that it deserves. So, I commend you, and the foreign partner, it is a very welcome development. So, we hope in no distant future, we will not only be supplying the domestic market but also the West African market and even to South Africa.’’
Mr Ogonna Okonkwo, the Managing Director of Global Smartfit, an indigenous footwear manufacturing company, said that the partnership would result in the establishment of shoe factories in different parts of the country. The economic benefits for the country, as listed by Okonkwo are numerous and include job opportunities for Nigerians and local manpower development in mechanized shoe production.
He also said he was eager to partner with interested state governments in establishing shoe factories in their domains and training their indigenes in the art for economic development. Chief Executive Officer of Labora, Mr Desmond Chunderlal, said that Nigerians were deprived of affordable locally made quality footwear due to the absence of a structured footwear industry in the country, and with a successful campaign as this, other products area aside footwear would be explored in the country as well.