Govt, MAN seal pact to improve patronage of locally-produced goods
•Unveil e-commerce platform to drive agenda
In a bid to address challenges with patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods and services, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to promote patronage of locally produced goods especially among government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Under the arrangement, manufacturers under the umbrella body of MAN will showcase their products on an e-commerce platform provided by the Federal Government to improve access of MDAs to locally manufactured goods.
Worried that Nigerian goods are still negatively perceived on issues bordering on trust, quality, price and durability, the Chairman, Project Management Team, FMITI, William Otabil, explained that the e-commerce platform which is first of its kind is going to be a portal strictly to sell made-in-Nigeria goods and services.
The initiative according to him, will be launched within the next six week in partnership with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to ensure that only goods and services that are certified get on the platform.
“This is why we are signing this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from bottom-up. Products that will be bought from the portal are all genuinely certified, of good quality, not smuggled, not counterfeited products and proudly made-in-Nigeria”.
Otabil during an MoU signing ceremony to seal the partnership with manufacturers, said the platform will serve as a one-stop portal where over one billion Internet shoppers, 340 million ECOWAS markets and close to 200 million Nigerians can access anywhere in the world to get quality goods and services.
“This is a very huge market and we want to make sure goods and services that are made-in-Nigeria can reach anybody in the world and are sure of the quality at affordable prices. This is a big opening for Nigerian made goods and services.
“We are looking at retail and wholesale end while also targeting procurement offices in all the tiers of government. It is a one-stop referral spot for procurement entities looking for top quality products and services”, he added.
According to him, one of the challenges of local patronage is that procurement offices claim that they do not know where to find made-in-Nigeria goods, saying this is why they violate the existing procurement laws.
“Part of the MoU we have signed is featuring a task force that will have members of the press to monitor, evaluate and report on violation of the existing local patronage laws by the procurement agencies. Buying made-in-Nigeria is a serious business because the lives of our people depend on it. This government is committed to looking inwards, so I believe all Nigerians will join hand together to buy that which we produce. This portal is a one-stop unique place where you find made-in-Nigeria goods and services and you are sure of their quality,” he stressed.
He noted that the portal has seen companies registering, adding that, products that do not have NAFDAC numbers will be assisted along with MAN members to ensure that some of the challenges hindering micro enterprise development are addressed.
“We have found out that one major problem of local patronage is that a lot of good products do not have NAFDAC numbers because of the expensive and cumbersome regulatory requirements needed for certification. We are using this medium to appeal to NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies to give conditions that are favourable to micro enterprise development to help them spend more in packaging to give give us good products,” he appealed.
Earlier, the president, MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the portal will give Nigerians the opportunity to advertise made-in-Nigeria goods, saying that there has never been a portal in the past to showcase Nigerian goods and services to the world.
Jacobs who was represented by the Chairman, MAN Pulp, Paper and Paper Products, Printing and Publishing Group, Princess Layo Okeowo, said: “We need to congratulate ourselves as Nigerians, because this portal is a breakthrough for the country. It is aimed at our procurement officers of the MDAs since they are the biggest spenders”.
She said Nigerians must make sure that most of whatever they buy are made in Nigeria , stressing that this will go a long way to encourage and boost manufacturers in the country.
“To be a manufacturer in this harsh economic times takes a lot of guts and determination. Manufacturers are faced with myriad of challenges and for us to remain in business, Nigerians should patronise us. Members of MAN produce high-quality products to suit the needs of our local and international consumers”, she added.
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