Procurement Act Amendment: A Beacon Of Hope For Nigerian Local Businesses
As the Nigerian economy continues to groan, begging for rescue from all and sundry, the 8th National Assembly cannot be said irresponsive in view of its legislative leaps targeted at revamping the ailing economy through legislations that stand on the foundational motive of boosting local businesses and stimulating private investments in the country.
No matter how viral it goes, however, the 'fashionable' campaign for Made-in-Nigeria products doesn't constitute any pinch of the officially-required ingredients to salvage the Nigerian economy through the combined effort of promoting and patronizing the home-made goods.
What is requisite, as conspicuous as it is, are laws that are objectively fashioned to broaden the chances of success in doing business in the country. Beyond this, another determinant is the creation of a stable market for the patronage of the local products in order to prevent businesses from sudden death.
Achieving the above, the 2007 Procurement Act amendment Bill which has just sailed its second reading on the floor of the red chamber, is supposedly to bring transparency in the way government carries out its procurement processes by making goods of Nigeria origin the first option. The 8th Senate, more often, has emphasized the need to provide enabling environment for local businesses to thrive, and canvassed for prioritising locally made products during government's procurement as a means of boosting the economy.
The amendment bill sponsored by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia South and totally supported by his colleagues and the distinguished leadership of the 8th Senate, when assented will make Made-in-Nigeria goods the first option policy.
Among its numerous benefits, The Procurement act will mandate governments to give priority to Nigerian products over their foreign alternatives, alluding that the foreign products will become options only when such products are not manufactured locally.
By implication therefore, local businesses and products, which have in the past suffered rejection as a result of Nigerians' adverse prioritization of foreign goods, will begin to thrive more than ever. The swift passage of this amendment will further wake up dying local businesses and pave way for more local innovations with improved quality that in no time will match the standards of most foreign goods.
There are rekindling indications that the prayers would be answered, soonest. The just concluded Made-in-Aba Trade Fair where standard local products were exhibited, has fascinated both the Nigerian and global community by exposing the hidden potentials in, and unappreciated, resources within.
Knowing that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was mesmerised by the quality of the Nigerian merchandise, in addition to the quick endorsement and patronage by the federal legislators of the Nigerian-made Innoson vehicles, among other patronised local products, connotes a goodwill message for all indigenous entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen at large that the government is ready to bless local handiworks.
Recall that the leadership of the apex law-making body under its President, Saraki, had assured local investors and manufacturers that the National Assembly will swiftly enact, and equally amend obsolete, laws in order to fasten the self-sustainability of the country's economy.
This welcome development from the Saraki led senate will provide a ray of hope to Nigerians who have given up on the originality of its local innovations and in turn a revival for the economy.
Written by Cynthia Ferdinand