The dollar is spiraling at an unprecedented rate, in fact right now it goes up more than it comes down and many Nigerians are complaining because we all one way or the other depend on foreign exchange or goods and services to run our businesses which in turn runs the economy. Banks I hear have now restricted the use of Nigerian debit cards abroad all because we want to reduce the demand for foreign exchange.
Earlier this year, there was a campaign to buy more naira products but that seems to be falling on deaf ears because something is actually missing. It is like telling someone to leave peak milk he has known for too long and start buying loya milk; that will take a lot to make one to switch from something of value he/she is use to to another that he isn’t use to. Before there will be widespread desire to buy more Nigerian made products, Nigerians will in high and low places will need beyond just a campaign hashtag; they will need value, they will need to see proof of excellence in our indigenous products, they need to see seriousness in the government to drive local production by making the economy conducive for business.
This process of creating indigenous, quality and competitive goods will require a venture into industrialization and mechanization especially in agriculture. It is not new that any industrialization process requires huge funds, heavy equipment, reliable power, strong capital base and expertise from the workforce. Nigeria has some strong men in business today, in fact many of them prefer to be silent especially in declaring their assets and investments; and these are people who do legitimate businesses and have somehow built empires for themselves. I also believe that those in government know them and they dine and wine together but it is time that these sessions of pleasure be turned to avenues for partnership as Nigerians, friends and fellow compatriots. Let me be clear.
There is nothing stopping our government from inviting these people who have the capacity to set up industries and enter a joint partnership for the good of all Nigerians and also to the credit of the government. I read a quote by billionaire investor Tony Elumelu that government does not have the capacity to provide jobs for everyone which I chose to believe but government can lead the way in creating jobs by reaching out to private businesses to strategise on how to create jobs. That is not rocket science I believe. There are businesses that have their headquarters in Nigeria that are also operating in other nations and also desire to delve into more sectors of the economy; but when you have a government that is laid back everything seems to be stagnated. All we hear are speeches, meetings, committees with no concrete action plan on ground for people to appreciate.
A government should never be overwhelmed about solving our problems especially when the private sector is thriving and have proven to make things work. The best approach still remains a strategic partnership that can benefit everyone who is a citizen of that nation. If a government does not lead the way in reaching out then these companies don’t mind being laid back so long as they still make more from doing their businesses privately.
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