The Senate and the House of Representatives are considering the amendment of the Procurement Act to compel all government agencies and institutions to give maximum priority to patronizing locally made products in Nigeria as a first option policy.
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) on Wednesday, moved a two prayer motion titled “Need For Patronisation of Made-in-Nigeria Goods,” and the Senate adopted the motion, urging the Federal Government to initiate and implement the first option policy on purchase of locally manufactured goods for any government procurement in all arms of government and every public funded organisation.
In Senator Abaribe’s words; “When you walk into any super market in Nigeria, most products on the shelves are imported.” He further stated that:
Over 95 per cent of the vehicles on the streets of Nigeria are also imported and this is the case with almost every other thing consumed in the oil-rich nation.
Today, Nigeria consumes what it does not produce. Investment in real sector has given way to trading in foreign and imported goods, stressing that the resultant impact has been a negative balance of trade, the shutting down of textiles companies, battery, tobacco, wood processing factories, cocoa and palm oil farms and other factories that had been the bane of the Nigerian economy.
Government spends billions of naira yearly to purchase imported vehicles, furniture, textiles, printing paper and even consumables such as rice, drugs, vegetable oils, fruit juice, noting that in the second quarter of 2015 alone, Nigeria spent N42.4 billion in importation of wheat and meslin and spent N25.3 billion in importation of rice.
Abaribe, therefore urged government to put measures in place to ensure obligatory official patronage of locally made products for all agencies of government and all officials funded by public funds, local producers and investors will have the incentive to invest quantitatively and qualitatively in the country because of the certainty of the market demand.
He listed countries like the United States, Chinese, and India, as some of the countries that made it mandatory for government agencies to source for locally manufactured goods before patronizing goods from other countries.
The lawmaker expressed optimism that if the present administration put measures in place to ensure obligatory official patronage of locally made products for all agencies of government, it would create jobs for the teeming population.
The Senate at the end of the debate, urged the Federal Government to initiate and implement the first option policy on purchase of locally manufactured products for government procurement in all arms of government and every public funded organisation, such that consideration is first given to the local industry before any other.