The “Made-In-Nigeria” Campaign: Diversifying the Nigerian Economy
Anyone familiar with Nigeria’s story will agree that the Nigerian economy needs to be diversified. For those not familiar with the story, here’s a short version: Nigeria is one of the world’s top oil-producing countries and as the price of oil has fallen globally, so has the Nigerian economy, because over the past few decades, Nigeria has been solely reliant on its oil sector.
Think of Nigeria as a person named Gary. Then think of Nigeria’s oil sector as carbs (say bread). Gary has been eating bread for a very loooong time and he’s been fine with it. He knows he should eat more fish and vegetables but he loves his bread and bread is really cheap. Life is good! Gary is good. Great! One day, the price of bread rises significantly and Gary discovers two things: a) he can no longer afford bread and b) he’s very sick because he’s been lacking a balanced diet. So Gary starts looking into protein, vegetables and any other food group that he hopes can make him feel better and return him to the way he felt in his bread-only days.
This is Nigeria’s story, with protein and vegetables as other sectors of the economy (such as agriculture or tourism). They say you’re what you eat and bad food does catch up with you — eventually. So now, Nigeria’s on a mission to diversify its economy and one way to do that is with a campaign. This particular campaign is called “Made-In-Nigeria”.
Historically, locally made products are seen as inferior to their foreign counterparts. Therefore, not only do foreign-made goods get sold at a higher price, they are often more sought-after than their local counterparts (which is understandable because everyone wants a quality product). This perception of inferiority has seriously hurt local industries. So with the “Made-In-Nigeria” campaign, the Nigerian government seeks to revitalize the economy by encouraging Nigerians to buy products made by Nigerians. The idea is that the patronage of made in Nigeria products by Nigerians will revive the cotton, textile and garment industries – among others.
To ensure the success of the campaign, the government is considering several strategies one of which is the promotion of Nigerian-made dresses. Specifically, a “Wear Naija Day,” where public officials and employees of corporate organizations all wear clothes sewn from locally-made fabrics (this isn’t new because growing up, I recall most people wearing native outfits to work on a Friday, which was called “Native day”).
Other strategies include, among others, battling smuggling, facilitating access to funding, addressing the challenges of energy and lifting the ban on importation of finished products and using the duties and levies raised therefrom to support local industry.
Aside from the “Made-In-Nigeria” campaign, there’s the #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira campaign which has helped promote local products as well as become a platform for local entrepreneurs and manufacturers to showcase what they’re capable of producing. This campaign has generated international recognition with the CNN and The BBC publishing articles on it.
It’s good to see Nigerian leaders working to implement actions that we all agree are essential for the country’s growth. Hopefully, all of this work bears fruit and is carried on by subsequent presidential administrations.