ABIA, AUGUST 25, 2017 – The Governor of Abia, Dr Okezie Ikepeazu, has condemned the importation and consumption of two million dollars worth of imported rice on daily basis by Nigerians.
Ikepeazu made the condemnation at the Business Hallmark Public Policy Forum on Thursday in Lagos.
He, therefore, canvassed for the consumption of local foods, especially rice and exportation of local goods, and services to guard against further depletion of national reserves.
The theme of the Public Policy Forum is “The Made in Nigeria Campaign and National Economic Revival.’’
He also urged that Nigerians must be determined to work “the talk’’.
The Governor said, “Why are Nigerians spending 2 million dollars on imported rice daily when there are varieties of better and nutritious local rice.
“What the country needs is the facilitation of home made goods and foods as this could take the economy to next destination.’’
According to him, over dependence on foreign goods and oil money has denied the country proportionate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increment.
“The GDP of Turkey in 2017 is three times where it was in 1980 and that of China grew 35 times from 341m Liras it was in1980 to 12trn Liras in 2017.
“That of South Korean grew by 10 times but unfortunately, the GDP of Nigeria of 180 million people grew from N143 billion to N430 billion,’’ he said
Ikepeazu said the he had developed corrective measures to enable “Abia made goods’’ compete with GUCCI products at international markets.
He said the state had was exporting over one million shoes weekly to countries like Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bussau, Togo and Mali weekly and earning over N2 billion.
The Minister of Science of Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, said at the occasion that theme of the forum was apt, especially as the country was facing serious economic challenges.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for adopting the diversification of economy as a major policy of his administration.
“Local goods and services as a matter of urgency must become household names.
“President Buhari has directed that 40 per cent of Federal agencies’ procurement must be locally purchased,’’ he said
According to Onu, the only way to national prosperity is strengthening indigenous production and promoting local consumption of goods and services.
The minister condemned the importation of tooth pick, rice, fish, cassava starch, sugar, processed tomatoes, garments and fabrics into the country.
He said the citizens’ insatiable appetite for imported products at the detriment of locally produced goods remained devastating economic drain that paved way for the country’s economic recession.