Recently the Naira currency has been fluctuating in its value against foreign currencies. I learnt the reason really has to do with the demand of foreign currency against our naira. It’s been a very disturbing situation as business has been slow. Majority of the businesses in Nigeria involve buying and selling and most of the products sold are imported. It’s been so bad that at some point, simple things like tooth picks were imported into the country.
In the past, some of our leaders have tried to ban importation of some products they believe can be manufactured in the country. These usually seems like a good development except that before such ban, there isn’t provision for the manufacturing of such product which is why these bans don’t last- instead it increases the purchase value of the product.
So what can be done to have a stable and good currency value? Some people are of the opinion that our importation has to be reduced greatly and our manufacturing greatly boosted. Also we’ve got to get back to exporting a lot of our products too, not just the oil. These all sound like a very noble and straight-forward solutions but I also think our mindset too might need changing too.
An average Nigerian is more confident about a product with a foreign label than with a Nigerian label. For some it’s about “class” to show that they don’t use “made in Nigeria” products which really is a mindset thing than a class thing. For most though, it’s about trust, for some reasons they believe that careful thought and research are not put in when manufacturing most of our products.
This second thought is really worrisome when it comes to consumables like packaged food and medicines. In Nigeria there are Government bodies that look into these things like the Standard Organization of Nigeria, and the NAFDAC. In the past, every consumable whether manufactured locally or imported had to be subjected to these organizations for scrutiny, get their seal of approval before going into the market.
Apart from this lack of trust factor, Nigerian manufacturers are doing really great with their products. An example is in the fashion industry; we see a lot of designers create amazing pieces with great finishing. No wonder the Ankara fabric clothes have gone global with foreign celebrities loving our Ankara print fashions. These days some Nigerian designers also get to be featured in fashion shows abroad. Also worthy of mention is the cosmetic business, which seems to have exploded in the last few years. Now thanks to our makeup gurus, we now have make up in the market specifically manufactured for the African skin taking into considerations our hot climatic conditions. Even our agricultural product are not left behind; the way food stuff are package these days is so classy and attractive making it easy to be exported like ‘garri’ and ‘poundo’ yam can be seen across continents.
Nigeria has potential to become a booming economy because we are so blessed. An average Nigerian is a creative person and most times, it’s the lack of opportunity and facilities that hinders the creativity. So just in case the Government is thinking of a “no more importation” policy; I humbly ask that they create a good environment for creativity by providing the masses with affordable basic amenities like electricity and also the agencies responsible for quality assurance should do their job the right way in order to elicit the confidence of Nigerians in the locally manufactured products.
God bless Nigeria!