The Federal Government has revealed that it was coordinating with neighbouring countries to improve security around Nigeria’s borders in order to check the incidence of smuggling and the entry of counterfeit products into the country, thereby creating better economic fortunes for made-in-Nigeria goods.
This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday in Abuja while receiving a delegation of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) which paid a visit to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
A statement issued by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, revealed that the MAN delegation, led by its President, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, presented the Vice President a report on its advocacy campaign for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products.
Speaking further on the issue of curtailing smuggling and counterfeit products, Osinbajo advocated for certain sections of the laws to be amended in order to attract stringent monetary penalties for defaulters, which would serve as deterrent, as well as to protect the quality of goods coming in the country.
“More importantly, the whole issue is that we are able to police the borders. Last week we had discussions with all the agencies connected; including the Customs, the Minister of Internal Affairs, NPA, and we were looking at how we can work with our neighbours, especially the Benin Republic, and our neighbours also in the North, to police our borders as much as we can”, he said.
The Vice President also reiterated that the major focus of the Buhari administration’s Ease of Doing Business reforms was to increasing patronage for locally manufactured goods, as well as to create an enabling environment for the private sector and businesses in the country to thrive.
Osinbajo said, “The whole point of the Executive Order on promoting “Made-in-Nigeria” products was to set the ball rolling, to create an environment for this sort of initiative, and I am extremely grateful to MAN for the work that it has done in bringing this to the fore.”
In his remarks, the President of MAN noted that the association’s advocacy campaign was not only aimed at improving the patronage of locally manufactured products by Nigerians, but to also help create more jobs for Nigerians in the local manufacturing sector by reducing imports.
The Vice President noted that the Federal Government will consider the request made by the association for a 35 per cent margin of preference for Made-in-Nigeria products for government procurement.
“I think that, in this particular case, the 35 per cent threshold is entirely reasonable. We should be able to do better than that in terms of driving government procurement,” Osinbajo said, adding that the country had a huge market for locally manufactured products, especially in the textile and footwear industries. He further disclosed that government had ordered some of these products for the military and other uniformed agencies of government.
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