The 3rd Practical Nigerian Content Forum of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board commenced on Tuesday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, with the Federal Government emphasising the need for Nigerians to patronise locally-made goods.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said local patronage would make the evolution of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan a reality.
He noted that no nation had moved from being a poor nation to a rich nation by importing raw material without a strong industrial base.
The minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Legal Services, Uju Hassan-Baba, said local content had been given prominence in line with the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He said the ministry was working with industries to enhance their productivity and improve the quality of their products to significantly reduce the importation of substandard goods.
Aganga said his ministry had re-designed and re-launched the “Buy Naija, Create Jobs” campaign to encourage local procurement of supplies, services and other requirements in order to increase local output and employment level.
He said, “We know that we must nurture new industries, supported by government incentives, until they grow strong enough to withstand international competition.
“These are the reasons we have taken time to develop the NIRP, learning from the experiences of countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea, among others.
“The NIRP is Nigeria’s first strategic, holistic, comprehensive and integrated roadmap to industrialisation.”
Governor Seriake Dickson said the state government was committed to ensuring a peaceful and conducive investment climate in the state as contained in its cardinal principles and policies.
Dickson, who was represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.), assured Nigerians of his administration’s readiness to contribute to the deepening of the Nigerian content policy down to the level of communities.
“This explains our acceptance to co-host this conference on an annual basis”, the governor said.
The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa, said Nigeria had lost over $380bn as capital flight in the last 30 years because of weaknesses caused by lack of local content in the country’s oil and gas industry.
Nwapa said the board had been prioritising revenue-focused and in-country value-focused measures as strategic resource extraction options that would increase local content and minimize procurement of industrial material and spare parts from foreign countries.