Owing to the economic downturn currently being experienced in Nigeria, her citizens have embraced overwhelmingly locally produced goods and home-grown businesses as an internal measure to help shore up the Naira value.
This has become necessary going by recent statements by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the economy. It revealed that the country is undergoing its worst recession in 29 years as the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) pummels to a record -0.36%.
In this regard, the 8th Senate’s resolve to enact legislation and activate the required willpower to lead the country out of its recession cannot be unnoticed. The Nigerian Senate within the past couple of weeks has deliberately centered its discussions and oversight on everything that pertains to the economy to drive the MadeInNigeria campaign.
Since the inauguration of the Upper chamber, Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki declared his support for local contents while leading the advocacy alongside his colleagues to ensure patronage by government agencies and create legislative instrument that encourages local manufacturers and ensure ease of doing business.
The reformation campaign by the Senate was set up with sincerity of purpose. On the 8th of February 2016, Bukola Saraki attended the ‘made in Aba’ trade fair to kick-start what will eventually become an important measure towards the nation’s economic recovery.
Few weeks after the Senate President received his outfits and hand crated souvenirs from the exhibition in his office, the items were showcased publicly to encourage the talented designers and promote homemade attires.
Saraki while acknowledging receipt of the attires said; ‘’I received my trendy outfits from Adic Design, the gentleman I met at the made in Aba trade fair a few weeks ago. We must all make the conscious effort to patronize Nigerian designers which can help regulate the textile industry that once contributed over $2billion to our GDP in the 80’s’’.
In a similar development, Inoson Motors, the automobile manufacturing factory based in the eastern part of the country also keyed into the Senate’s economic drive on local contents by paying a visit to the leadership of the Senate on the 21st of February, 2016 to seek legislative framework that will ensure patronage by government institutions and Nigerians in the public and private sectors.
In matching words with action, the Bukola Saraki led senate promptly revisited the procurement act on June 16, to amend relevant sections of the ‘act’ to favour local manufacturers and ensures speedy completion of projects. The bill was passed for third reading.
The aggressiveness by the Senate to increase its advancement for ‘made-in-Nigeria’ goods to restore price stability and engaging stakeholders in business for capacity building as an alternative measures to revamp the economy was informed by the rising prices of food commodities, a slump in the market due to poor purchasing power, increased unemployment rate and laying off workers by multi-national companies.
If we agree that Nigeria is mono-economy in nature, then the recent passage of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund amendment bill is another cheering news for Nigerian farmers and Small and Medium enterprise towards food production and sustainability. Once the Agricultural Credit bill is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, the various amendment contained in the sections will ensure that small-scale farmers have access to credit facilities with reasonable interest rate to increase their productivity. This bill will also trigger the creation of employment and boost economic diversification.
Shortly after Signing the Agric Credit Bill for passage, Saraki said: ‘’In order to meet long-term financial commitments to our farmers, we need to ensure that we protect the credit financiers and banks that are involved in the credit disbursement, doing this will ensure that all stakeholders meet their financial obligations’’.
It is important to note that the 8th Senate is working assiduously to pass into law bills such as the Food security bill, review of tax laws, consumer protection Act and other similar priority bills that seeks to promote and encourage locally manufactured goods.
The combination of activities within the senate chamber suggest the presence of a new order with new sets of rules centred on economy buoyancy and a focused oversight backed with discipline as an important ingredient as seen in the successes recorded so far at the chamber. The National Assembly has continued to enact laws that will carefully attract the right investors- both foreign and local, and when necessary summon public and private bodies and government institutions to account for one policies or the other as it pertains to the economy.
The nation’s legislative hub is well regarded for its contributions towards nation building as the red chamber has demonstrated an uncommon bravery by focusing more on outcomes rather than processes. The Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki has reiterated severally that it’s pro-business and ready to drive policies for economic re-establishment and local contents advocacy.
The senate can be said to have realized the importance of building strong institutions as a prerequisite for a working economy and prioritizing the amendment of people-oriented bills to create an enabling environment for home-grown businesses to thrive.
These pieces of legislation put together by the 8th Senate will no doubt ensure that the ‘made in Nigeria’ campaign is sustained and becomes the core stimulation to set Nigeria’s economy on a path of recovery and spur investors’ confidence in doing business the right way.
Wale Bakare is a writer and a social media enthusiast with strong affection for politics, Agriculture and the conservation of the environment.