Senate President, David Mark, on Monday urged the Federal Government to ban importation of all goods that Nigerians have the capacity to produce locally.
Mark made the call when he declared the first Made-in-Aba Fair open in Abuja.
Represented by Sen. Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Mark described Aba as “the catalyst of industrial revolution in Nigeria”.
He said government should henceforth discourage importation of foreign goods because “Nigeria has no business importing those goods which do not measure to the quality being produced in the country”.
He commended the people of Aba for doing the nation proud through the spirit of enterprise and innovation demonstrated in quality products and goods made available through local skills.
“We have no business importing military boots when what is produced here locally is more superior to that which is brought into the country.
“We have no reason to import ballot boxes for INEC. This locally made ballot box is actually better than the one INEC has been importing.
“Let us ban all that we can ban to ensure a quick take-off of our industrial sector. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) should not hold us down in economic slavery.
“If there is any city that deserves the presence of the Bank of Industry, it is Aba city,’’ he said.
Mark called for a radical transformation of the Nigeria’s industrial base by providing adequate facilities to support the efforts of indigenous producers to boost economic growth.
He urged relevant agencies of government to create adequate awareness on the need for introduction of policies that would enable local initiatives to thrive.
The facilitator of the Made-in-Aba Fair, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), said the fair was his constituency project meant to “bring Aba to Abuja’’.
Abaribe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, said the fair was aimed at giving opportunity to the indigenous producers to showcase their products.
He said the reliance on imported goods at the expense of quality goods that were locally produced would not allow the nation’s economy to develop.
He said that if given adequate patronage, indigenous producers would help to create employment for the youth and wealth for the country.
“This fair is to encourage made in Nigeria products, but specifically made in Aba goods.
“We need to be able to create wealth and employment by patronising local producers to reduce crime in the society.
“If we neglect our domestic goods and continue to patronise foreign ones, there is no way that foreigners will see us as talented,’’ Abaribe said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Industries and Investments, Dr Olusegun Aganga and the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Sen. Ibrahim Musa attended the occasion.
NAN also reports that the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is the government agency overseeing the coordination of the Made-in-Aba Fair. [NAN]