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Architects seek patronage for indigenous firms, homemade furniture


architectsFOLLOWING the preference by some individuals and government agencies for foreign professionals, the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) has restated its commitment to ensure that only registered members practice in the country.

The body made the declaration at the factory tour by the NIA chapter to one of Nigeria’s foremost and leading interior design and manufacturing company, IO Furniture, recently in Lagos.

The Lagos Chapter Chairman, Mr. Ladipo Lewis said: “No foreign architect should come into Nigeria and practice on their own. They are expected to partner with local firms. The responsibility lies with us to ensure that our laws are obeyed.”

Chief Executive Officer, IO Furniture and host of the event, Munira Shonibare also enjoined government to encourage local production while urging Nigerians to patronize made-in-Nigeria products.

Shonibare recalled how polices favourable to indigenous companies turned around economies such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore to first world countries.

She went on to state the Singapore example where imported goods were banned in order to stimulate and grow the economy. She believes that if we were only willing to sacrifice and make conscious efforts, Nigerian furniture would be accepted and appreciated even internationally.

She said: “Nobody is ever going to hand anything to us on a plate. Nobody is going to leave their own problems to solve your own problems and grow your economy.”

“The federal government and Nigerians should support the local industry, because when you support the local industry you are empowering them. For example the Chinese government support and empower their industry. So you can’t compete with someone who has got industrial support with all manner of concessions from government.”

“I can’t compete with someone who does not have to deal with infrastructure issues, interest rates. So we need the support and then it becomes a more level playing field.”

“They have got to invest in infrastructure and legislation. It is not okay for a foreign professional to come here and practice arbitrarily. You have to put laws and guidelines.”

Shonibare said: “One of my major goal is to make sure that a few made in Nigeria manufacturing companies participate in the Milan furniture fair because that is the biggest furniture fair in the world.”

She added that she was saddened that many Nigerians prefer to import furniture and other goods from China, which is weakening the economy because jobs are not being generated this way as Chinese people would not give Nigerians jobs.

Shonibare said all the materials used in the making of furniture at the wholly indigenous, innovative Nigerian company are sourced locally and are made to the highest international quality standards possible.

With over 27 years experience, this proudly Nigerian company displayed cutting edge designed furniture pieces and never been seen before accessories. They company caters to any range of projects from hotels, to restaurants, offices, residential apartments and real estate development and also performs excellent after sales services.

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