An Abia state, Governorship Aspirant, Sir Chike Udensi has advised Nigerians to be contented with made in Nigeria products.
Udensi gave the advice on Saturday while addressing Journalists in Abuja on the 2021 Made-in -Aba Trade Fair, exhibition which has become an important annual feature in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) business promotion calendar in the country.
He told newsmen, that some of the problems facing indegineous products are lack of market, and necessary assistance and encouragement from the government.
Udensi stressed that government intervention is necessary to launch locally made products to the next level where they can be competitive and globally accepted.
“I have always known made in Aba products over the years, the problem is that if you have a good product, you don’t have a market, and the government does not give you the necessary assistance.
“My thinking is that these kind of products should go beyond where it is now and am impressed with what I have seen, even where they have their lapses we can effectively amend them. This is a good start, I have always had of made in Aba products, I didn’t even know we are still sustaining this level of production. My little prayer is that God will grant us somebody who will take us beyond this level,” Udensi said.
On what the government should do to make Aba made goods to be competitive with other products in Nigeria and beyond the shores of the country, he responded that ,”The problem we have always had is that the African market has always not patronized African products that has always been the problem, and what we need to do is to ensure that we are contented with what we have.
“If we allow the influx of all these products from outside Africa, it gives us the problem of sustaining what we have here. Let me tell you why am beginning to be happy with this government, to a large extent I was very angry with them, especially the way they have treated my people but government now says no more government Agencies, Ministries or Parastatals that will patronize foreign products, that’s a plus, that’s a good one.
“Am not going to criticize government in everything, if they have done the good ones, I will say that they have done the good ones, but as you know I have always criticize them for not realizing that our people exists, anybody who will ignore the Igbo race is a crazy man, the Igbo race is a race that is indomitable and we are ever existing.
“We have come to take a look at what we have here, to see how best we can help our people increase their productivity and also
the acceptance of their products not only in our country but beyond, that is what we are trying to do.”
Also speaking, the Creative Director, Shoe Plant, a Company renowned for the production of high quality shoes and other footwear, Andrew Etim boasts that their products are made of high quality leathers and can compete globally.
Etim challenged doubters to come and see things for themselves, to compare their products and other foreign products, adding that they are proud to showcase their products anywhere in the world.
Asked if he thinks his products are ready enough to face the international market, and what he thinks should be done to ensure that he gains the acceptance he needs in terms of export, he said,””We are producing our shoes in Aba and part of it in Abuja here. Our shoes are produced to be attractive to those who are used to high grade shoes.
“We have gone beyond that, the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the agreement has been signed but the implementation stage has not yet started.
Two months ago, about 30 Nigerian companies where invited to teach people on how to easily export products with the AfCFTA, so Shoe Planet was the only shoe maker which was invited in that very programme which was organised by the Afrexim Bank and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
“So we have gotten all the training we are supposed to have on that, so right now we have order from the Republic of Togo to shift our goods there, we have interest in Egypt to also shift our goods to them, so, we are looking at the South African market and the other Sub-regions. The way the free trade area is packaged, Afrexim Bank is providing the guarantees for the buyers and the sellers. We are on course for that program waiting for it to start.
“The place where we are now is no longer about what we think, is now about what you yourself can see, if you look at the shoes, if you can look at what we have here, we have made our shoes to compete with what is imported.
“If you can look at what we have here, all the shoes are made with genuine leather, is not about what we think, is about what the customers can see. The product speak for itself.”
“Our products have been speaking for themselves, so what we require now is access to market for more people to see them and we are very confident that they can stand out anywhere for any person to them.”