Manzur Ahmed, the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has enjoined Nigerians to have preference for Nigerian-manufactured products to enable the country’s local manufacturers employ more Nigerians and spread wealth in the country.
Ahmed noted that the more Nigerians consume made-in-Nigeria products, the more the country’s domestic manufacturers would grow and employ more Nigerians, create wages and circulate money in the economy.
According to him, “I will like to inform all Nigerians that these goods and services we produce are produced for their consumption. And the more they consume them, the more we will be able to produce and employ more Nigerians in their production as well as lift our people out of poverty. Producing what you consume and consuming what you produce is the best way to enrich your country, spread wealth among the people and alleviate poverty.”
Ahmed made this call at the opening of the 47th annual general meeting (AGM) of MAN with the theme: ‘Improving Value Chain in the Manufacturing Sector for Competitiveness, Growth and Job Creation’. It will also be the first AGM of the association to run for three consecutive days.
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He explained that the theme’s emphasis on improving the value chain was informed by the awareness that manufacturing cuts across many stages, starting from agriculture to semi-processed stage and final processing into finished and packaged usable goods.
He added: “It is important that at various stages of these value chains, there is enough capacity of support to integrate the various chains from the beginning to the end. Very often, the people who produce the initial goods do not make as much money as the people who process and package them. I always give the example of chocolate, which is made from cocoa
“What we have found is that at the end of the day, the total value of the product is such that the guy who converts cocoa into chocolate makes 90 percent or more of the total money while the man who grows the cocoa makes 10 or less percent. So, it is important for any country that really wants to improve its economy to ensure that every part of the value chain is maximised. This means that we have to use more of our local raw material as much as possible.”
Ahmed also said the array of locally manufactured goods on display during the AGM should excite all Nigerians because they are mainly produced from locally sourced raw materials as an indication of Nigeria’s desire to show the world that its citizens are capable of producing what they consume.
The president of MAN said: “It is absolutely important for our economy and our teeming population to know that the bulk of the goods they consume are largely produced by the country’s local manufacturers from local raw materials. This is the desire of the manufacturing association. What makes a nation proud is its ability to produce goods and services for its citizens from its raw materials.”
Similarly, the Wakili of Adamawa, Hassan Adamu, who declared the trade exhibition open, said the first made-in-Nigeria exhibition was carried out in 1971.
Adamu warned that “no nation can grow and become great unless its people patronise their country’s products. There was a time in the 1970s when we glorify the consumption of Japanese products. But today, I will appeal to Nigerians that the only way to challenge and encourage local manufacturers to do more and better is by consuming what they produce. I urge you to buy what is made in Nigeria. Consume what is made in Nigeria and make Nigeria great again. There is no amount of support that is too much.”
On his own, Segun Ajayi-Kadiri, the Director-General of MAN, said the theme of this year’s AGM would enable the country to concentrate on its areas of comparative cost advantage by linking value chains to competitiveness.
According to him, “If you do not take the advantage of your value chains within your economy, you will not be able to compete in terms of price in the oncoming African Continental Free Trade Area’s agreement and take advantage of the 1.2 billion people market in Africa. So, if you are not competitive, you will not be able to sell your products outside the country. This is why we are using this AGM to signpost this as what the government and businesses should think and focus on going forward.”