President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the need for Nigerians to patronise locally-manufatured goods in order to boost the nation’s trade activities and the economy.
He said this on Friday while declaring open the 2020 Lagos International Trade Fair organised annually by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The fair, the 34th edition, is holding both physically at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, and virtually, and would end on December 13,2020.
The president who was represented by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic had made it necessary to accelerate the growth of the industrial sector.
He expressed Federal Government’s commitment to revamping Nigeria’s Industrial Revolution Plan.
He said: “To boost our trade activities and prospects, we must support locally-manufactured goods.
“It is in this regard; our government signed the Executive Order 003 in 2017 and several campaigns have been launched to create necessary awareness and momentum.
“As you will agree with me, this will, among other things, enable us create employment for our large and growing population, diversify the economy from a relatively narrow base, build industrial capacity and trade competitiveness.
“We are currently revamping the NIRP with a focus on driving backward integration and increasingly domesticating production of key products, especially sugar, dairy, palm oil, cotton, textiles and garments, automobiles and cassava starch.
“We are also to concession two Brownfield Special Economic Zones (Kano and Calabar) while commencing work on developing four additional Greenfield sites across the country.”
He added that the government was equally also facilitating trade and maximising the benefits of international trade through multilateral trade relations with other countries.
The President noted that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council had released export policies for 22 major products that could generate up to US$30bn annually in foreign exchange.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr BabajideSanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said the fair offered unique opportunities for investors, buyers and traders from different parts of the globe to inter-relate.
He said his administration would cooperate with LCCI on its advocacy for the entrenchment of consistency of fiscal and monetary policies.
Earlier in her address of welcome, President, LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said the chamber believed strongly in the Nigerian economy, and expressed the optimism that the country would soon exit recession.
She said: “The LCCI is committed to the vision of the current administration in respect of economic diversification and self-reliance.
“Our programmes, advocacy activities and capacity development are geared toward the realisation of economic aspirations.
“We recognise the imperative of non-oil sector development and the need to add value to our primary products in order to improve earnings for both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“This trade fair provides a platform to identify non-oil alternatives and highlights the significance of value addition.
“The trade fair equally serves as an avenue to boost economic and commercial activities.”