How Governments’ Hypocrisy Frustrates Local Production
Governments’ double-standard in policies implementation, and unwillingness to match words with actions has continued to frustrate local manufacturers’ efforts in improving Nigeria’s economy, as politics and hypocrisy play major roles. In a bid to stimulate the nation’s economy through local production, governments at various levels had, at one time or the other, reeled out policies to strengthen local industries. But the impacts of these policies are yet to be felt in the economic sphere of the nation, owing to lip-service and differences in political affiliations.
Like the previous administrations, the President Mohammadu Buhari-led government may be seen at the peripheral to be making concerted efforts to fight corruption and encourage local production and consumption. But critical checks show insincerity in policy implementation and a cyclical movement. As one of the ways to boost the economy through local patronage, in 2017 Federal Government issued an executive order, popularly known as Executive Order 003, which directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government of Nigeria to give preference to local manufacturers of goods and services in public procurement.
The Order, which if conscientiously implemented, would have improved the nation’s economy, following its mandate to accord at least 40% of government procurement to Nigerian manufacturers. But reverse is the case in implementation, mainly due to political affiliations and desire for foreign products. Only recently, products manufacturers in Nigeria have decried low patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods, despite the Executive Order 003.
According to the 2019 third quarter report of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s Confidence Index, locally made products are not thriving in the Nigerian markets. Records showed that inventory of unsold Nigeria-made goods remain high. MAN formulated the MCI index to monitor the economic movement of local products on a quarterly basis.
The report further x-rayed the views of about 62 per cent of chief executive officers of manufacturing companies which debunk the claim that patronage of Nigerian manufactured products had improved as a result of implementation of the Executive Order 003. It stated, “This response clearly shows that the Executive Order 003 which mandated all government establishments to make Nigerian manufactured goods first choice in public procurement processes has not been conscientiously implemented.”
Investigations have shown that its only political allies of the ruling party at any particular point in time enjoy the good-will of that very government in existence; as such, government’s claims to supporting economic growth through local content development in Nigeria becomes only a mirage.
Some of the sectors that government ought to have proven its commitment to economic growth if it was sincere in its policies include the automobile sector. If government was serious about the Executive Order, it would have reflected in the purchase of government official vehicles from the federal level to the local government level. An assessment of government official vehicles shows that virtually all the vehicles in their fleet are foreign made, whereas, Innoson Motors is producing sophisticated and exotic vehicles at Nnewi, Anambra State. This low patronage to the indigenous auto manufacturer may not be too far from an unfavourable political affiliation.
However, the Federal Government’s decision to close Nigerian borders is perceived to be a move in the right direction. The closure has forced many Nigerians to result to consuming locally produced rice, which has inversely created more job opportunities and increased income for farmers. Again, it’s argued by many Nigerians that the ruling class cannot afford to consume the low quality of rice being produced by the local farmer, as the processing mechanism of destoning the grain is yet to improve.
On the fashion front, it would be observed that most of the textiles and footwear used by top government officials are not locally produced. Though, there’s little local patronage seen from few public office holders who desire to use some locally designed fabrics and footwear. In the health sector, it is publicly noted that the political class prefers receiving medical attention in foreign and well-equipped hospitals, while the lower class make do with what is available and affordable within the country.
To further expose the insincerity of government officials in policy making and implementation, it would be recalled that few weeks ago, President Buhari, who goes to the United Kingdom for medical checkup on a regular basis, was encouraging Nigerians through the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, while commissioning a medical facility in Abia State University, to remain within the country for medical aid. Just to mention a few instances. Not until Hypocrisy and nepotism are purged out of Nigerian system, the nation’s economy will continue erode.
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