President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians should accept that patronising locally produced goods are their new reality.
Buhari, who was represented by Mariam Katagum, the minister of state for industry, trade and investment, said this in his keynote address at the opening of the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair on Friday.
The president said his administration is committed to its mandate of providing assistance that would guarantee the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Let me begin by commending the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the organisers of the fair for this vision and sustain efforts in putting together this annual event which draws participants from both within and outside the country,” he said.
“I must also commend the efforts of the Lagos state government for providing a conducive atmosphere and support for hosting the event.
“Trade fairs of this nature are vital economic tools for the realisation of my government’s economic agenda for the industrial upgrade and economic development of the country.
“The task to transform Nigeria into an industrial giant could not be achieved without the needed collaboration with the private sector to ensure an inclusive and sustainable path toward growth, job creation and economic development.
“To this end, I want to use this opportunity to reiterate my call for Nigerians to patronise Made-in-Nigeria products and services.
“We must accept our new reality of promoting locally-made products, as it is evident that this is where our new Nigeria will be realised.
“That is why I have constantly emphasised that we must be a nation where we grow what we eat and consume what we produce.”
Buhari said that the non-availability of white-collar jobs had made it imperative for Nigerian youths to embrace entrepreneurship development which would make them become economically empowered.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, represented by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, assured LCCI and other investors that the government would continue to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“Distinguished captains of industries, our commitment to promoting and connecting businesses across the transnational border remain strong and unshaken,” he said.
“We shall leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Lagos state truly becomes a 21st-century economy that actually supports the growth of the local economy through improved ease of doing business, innovative incentives, and interventions as well as quality service delivery by a well-motivated public service.
“Let me assure you that our aim is to be Africa’s model megacity and the melting point of business and industrial activities in the sub-region. We will not rest until the economic activities of our state are transformed and repositioned to meet the expectations of the business community and also achieve the goal of becoming a destination of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI).
“Our economy is the fifth-largest in Africa. Therefore, we take this seriously and we understand that in order to be better, we must make it easier for businesses to thrive.”
The trade fair will hold from November 1-14, 2019.