The Nigerian Federal Government should be commended for putting the spotlight on local manufacturers through initiatives such as the Made-in-Nigeria Dress Days and an Executive Order compelling state agencies to direct 40 per cent of procurement to Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.
That is according to Magnus Nmonwu, regional director for Sage in West Africa, who says a strong government push to encourage Nigerians to support locally made goods and services will help encourage entrepreneurship.
This, in turn, could help spur diversification of the economy, create local jobs, and decrease unemployment.
“Local service providers and manufacturers could play an important role in the revival of Nigeria’s economy,” he said.
“We welcome the effort to encourage industrialisation and diversify the economy from commodities into new areas. Strong local demand is the foundation of a manufacturing sector that can grow into an export industry.”
Nmonwu says government is putting its money where its mouth is with its Executive Order and giving the public a good example to follow. But he says there is still scope for the public sector to do more to encourage the growth of small businesses.
He encouraged the introduction of tax incentives for local producers, support in accessing finance, and the facilitation of mentoring and skills development programmes between small business and bigger companies.
Infrastructure investment across roads, power, communications and ports are also important in spurring development of local industry, Nmonwu says.
“There is enormous scope for government and the private sector to cooperate on creating polices and infrastructure that create an enabling environment for Nigeria’s business builders,” he says.
Another idea is for government to put together advisory boards with representatives from big businesses, small companies, the government and other stakeholders to understand the voice of small business and develop appropriate policies to help drive them.
“Small businesses and start-ups are the engines that will power Nigeria’s growth into the future,” Nmonwu says.
“The sooner we start supporting our proudly Nigerian suppliers and service providers, the better for us. With our support, they can create wealth and jobs for the country, and many of them could grow into globally competitive exporters.”