The Federal Government will soon ban the importation of goods being produced in Nigeria to reposition the manufacturing sector, Dr Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, has said.
According to him, this is part of a deliberate policy to protect local industries, boost their productivity and create more job opportunities for Nigerians.
Aganga disclosed this on Tuesday during his facility visit to Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Plant and Innoson Industrial Plastic Plant in Enugu and Anambra, respectively.
He said that the new initiative was part of the National Industrial Revolution Plan of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.
Aganga said that it was aimed at repositioning the manufacturing sector in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
“As a country, we have a large market comprising 167 million people. We are the gateway to ECOWAS, which are about 300 million people.
“What this means is that local patronage is very important to us as a country, because we must take advantage of our large market to drive our Industrial Revolution Plan.
“In fact, local patronage is key to President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda because it will help us to increase the productivity of our local companies; reduce foreign exchange spent on importation of goods from other countries and create more jobs for our people.
“Already, the president has directed us to compile the list of goods produced by Nigerian companies so that we will not have reasons to import those things into the country.
“We are going to do the same thing in the states by adopting the same policy.
“I have already met with the Chairman of Nnewi Chamber of Commerce and Industry over this matter and they will submit their list to me within the next one week.
“Also, the Anambra State governor is doing the same thing as well as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’’
He said that once the process was completed, “nobody would be allowed to import those things we produce into the country, especially those items that we have comparative and competitive advantage.’’
The minister also disclosed that the Federal Government was planning to review the country’s public system to give more opportunities to Nigerian companies in line with his ministry’s Industrial Revolution Plan.
The minister said that Nigeria like other countries across the world would have preferential treatment for goods produced in the country.
Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, while receiving the minister, said that the state government would partner with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to provide conducive environment to fast-track industrialisation in the state.
“Anambra has the highest concentration of industries in Nigeria. So, we will work together with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to provide the conducive environment to support industrialisation,” Obi said.
Dr Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman, Innoson Group of Companies, said during the facility tour, that the desire to create jobs and make products more affordable for Nigerians motivated him to set up four manufacturing plants.
He said that the support he had so far received from the Federal Government had helped his company to expand his operations.
Chukwuma said that Innoson Group currently employed 7,000 Nigerians, adding that it had plans to employ additional 3,000 “when its new plant comes on stream.” (NAN)