* Questions Rational Behind Foreign Marriages
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The National Assembly will commence a move that would compel the Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and other institutions begin to ultimately begin to patronise Nigerian made goods ahead of any other.
This is even as the rational behind foreign marriages has been questioned.
These were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and entitled: need for patronisation of made in Nigeria goods in Nigeria.
To this end both chambers of the National Assembly have been urged to amend the Procurement Act that would ensure that agencies of government and other government-funded institutions, as a matter of law, adopt the First Option Policy for made-in-Nigeria goods and where consideration is first given to the local industry before any other.
The motion also urged the Federal Government to initiate and implement the First Option Policy on purchase of locally manufactured products for any government procurement in all arms of government and every public-funded organisations.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, noted that Abaribe has justified the zonal intervention funds of the National Assembly.
“I used the opportunity to commend him (Abaribe) because I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Made in Aba’ exhibition, which he has been doing, using the zonal intervention funds.
“And I think it was very good because, as you all know, there is a wrong misconception, sometimes, of this zonal intervention funds of the National Assembly. The perception, sometimes, is that these monies are not used for any good course. And it was very commendable to see that for years, these monies have been used to support his trade fair,” he said.
In the motion, Abaribe lamented the impact of trading in foreign and imported goods.
“Today, Nigeria consumes what it does not produce. Investment in real sector has given way to trading in foreign and imported goods. 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,” he said.
He recalled when the Nigerian economy ran on ‘made in Nigeria’ exports.
“Industries were located in rural areas and made in Nigeria products were popular with Nigerians and many other African countries, adding that the level of industries shutting down was less than 10 percent and Nigeria produced what they consume due to lack of patronage and very harsh business environment has forced over 80 percent to close shop,” he said.
Abaribe noted that the current depletion in forex earnings and forex available is a symptomatic effect of an import dependent economy, which is riddled with unemployment, negative balance of trade, low capital formation, low private sector development.
“Sensitising Nigerians to consume made in Nigeria products, without more, isn’t quite enough: the government needs to put policies in place to aid and encourage local producers,” he added.
He reiterated that 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.
“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,” he recalled.
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.
“Relevant agencies will ensure standardisation of ‘made in Nigeria’ products, and Nigerians will gradually have a paradigm shift on their purchase of foreign products. The Nigerian economy will reap from the outcome, which is wealth and job creation for our teeming population,” he noted.
In his contribution, Senate Dino Melaye advocated for Nigerian men to always marry Nigerian, instead of foreign women.
He particularly threw shades at the Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for getting married to a woman from Cape Verde.
“We will also move in order to encourage the made in Nigeria products in Nigeria, begin to talk about made in Nigeria women.
“Apologies to my Uncle, the Governor of Edo State. We must, as a people, stop paying dowries in dollars and pounds (sterling). It is time for my colleagues here to become born again,” Melaye said.