As I watched the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, visiting Innoson, -a Nigerian car assembly factory- on television, my heart filled with pride; honestly, you should have seen me this morning, I was smiling like an ant on a sugar cube. The Managing director of Innoson group of companies, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, stated that the only part of the cars being imported was the engine. All other parts were manufactured locally, down to the seatbelts. I just kept thinking that someday, when my bank account finally decides to smile at me, I would actually purchase an Innoson car, if not for any reason, because it is manufactured by Nigerians. The importance of buying locally made products cannot be overemphasized; from creating employment opportunities for indigenes to boosting up our gross domestic product. The problem of ever rising exchange rates would be less of a worry because our Naira will possess stability and higher value. But I’m sure we all know this by now. This article is focused on informing you on how, in your own little way, you can contribute to the movement. Now, wait a minute, no one is asking you to go and buy a car, (unless of course, you can afford it without having to break bank) but there are certain things you can do:
- Buy Made In Nigeria Clothing: it’s no longer breaking news that the Nigerian fashion industry is making waves, and even attracting international attention. From shoes to clothing, to accessories, you name it, we’re making them all. Unfortunately, the common excuse amongst most Nigerians for not patronising these amazing local brands is that they cost more than foreign brands. I find this slightly inaccurate considering that just like any other industry anywhere in the world, there is the existence of range in price. I mean, one could find shoes for as low as $50 and as high as a $1000, the same goes for our local brands. While some, admittedly are on the very high side and only the true ‘OBOs’ can afford them, others are really quite affordable and broke people like myself can purchase them.
- Buy Made in Nigeria Snacks: Embrace our mouth watering locally made snacks like wafer sticks, chin-chin, boli (roasted plantain), plantain chips, popcorn, etc. By doing this you’re enriching fellow Nigerians and joining in the herculean task of boosting our economy. If that isn’t purpose, I don’t know what is!
- No Need To Be Pretentious: Stop visiting those restaurants in high brow areas around the country whose names you can’t even pronounce properly, eating food that’s too expensive for you to even admit it tastes terrible. Why not opt for our own local restaurants instead? Such as; The Place, White House, Delta kitchen, etc. And bukas at close proximity to you (shout out to iya Mariam). From one broke person to another, we both know you’ll be saving lots of money, and still get to eat some lit ass food.
- Employ The Services Of Local Artisans: So you want to make furniture and you’re thinking of ordering from Italy or Dubai; wouldn’t you rather call a carpenter from around here, contrary to popular belief, he will actually get your design and make something of good quality so you don’t have to worry over anything. In the end, you’ll have your furniture and the carpenter will be able to feed his family, thanks to you.
- Patronise Nigerian-owned Online Stores: It would surprise you how many there are; cocodeal.com, madeinnigeriagoods.com, konga.com, etc. Where you can purchase locally produced goods. When it comes to drinks, buy smoothies, fruit juices, milkshakes, etc. It’s also the healthier choice, you know.
I think there’s still quite a major reluctance on the part of Nigerians to purchase our local brands because of the belief (false) that they are of low quality. Someone on twitter once stated, sadly, but aptly, that Nigerians believe foreign means quality. Saying ‘I don’t buy anything in Nigeria’, is not something to be proud of really. This ideology is clearly neocolonialism at its finest. We need to unlearn the belief that anything foreign is better than our own. Remember that the more foreign things you buy, the more you contribute to the development of their economy while completely neglecting the economy of our own country. Yasssss -let that sink in. With that said, shalom! I have some plantain chips to buy.