The Vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in tackling the menace of porous borders to curtail smuggling of counterfeit products and boost local production.
Osinbajo stated this while playing host to a delegation of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to a press statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-president on media and publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said there was need for stringent laws guiding borders’ activities and transactions.
“Certain sections of the laws should be amended to attract stringent monetary penalties for defaulters, which would serve as deterrent and also to protect the quality of goods in the country.
“More importantly, the whole issue is that we are able to police the borders. Last week, we had discussions with all the agencies connected; including the Customs, the Minister of Internal Affairs, NPA, and we were looking at how we can work with our neighbours, especially the Benin Republic, and our neighbours also in the North, to police our borders as much as we can.
“The Federal Government will also consider the request made by the association for a 35 per cent margin of preference for Made-in-Nigeria products for government procurement.
“I think that, in this particular case, the 35 per cent threshold is entirely reasonable. We should be able to do better than that in terms of driving government procurement.
“The country has a huge market for locally manufactured products, especially in the textile and footwear industries”, Osinbajo said.
He further said that government had ordered some of these products for the military and other uniformed agencies of government.
The Vice President emphasised that the major focus of the Buhari’s administration’s Ease of Doing Business reforms was to increase patronage for locally manufactured goods, as well as to create an enabling environment for the private sector and businesses in the country to thrive.
“The whole point of the Executive Order on promoting “Made-in-Nigeria” products was to set the ball rolling, to create an environment for this sort of initiative, and I am extremely grateful to MAN for the work that it has done in bringing this to the fore.”
The President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, in his earlier remarks noted that the association’s advocacy campaign was not only aimed at improving the patronage of locally manufactured products by Nigerians, but to also help create more jobs for Nigerians in the local manufacturing sector by reducing imports.
He later presented the Vice President a report on MAN’s advocacy campaign for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products.