The news about Nigeria banning imported consumer goods is fascinating – always on news reports. When we’re not banning rice, it would be frozen chicken/turkey or tin tomato, I even read somewhere last year about banning books, good grief! This is all in the name of protecting local businesses, my question always is what are we protecting?
Isn’t it better to protect what we already produce rather than our intention?
Heaven knows who comes with the idea of us being self-sufficient, we are obviously not, not even nearly. Baba Obasanjo started this long ago raising poultry tariffs so high to kill all competitors – the result? Importers dump their goods with neighbouring countries for Nigerians crossing the borders, paying higher prices and facing bigger risks to their lives to pick them up.
This International Trade Centre graphs below say it all: How can Republic of Benin with population of 10.3M importation of rice close to that of China with over 1.4B people? We blame the customs officers for collecting bribes, when it seems they were put on the borders to do just that because people will cross the borders by all means possible because there are goods waiting on the other side to fill the needs of Nigerians.
How can one ban importation of goods before making adequate provision for alternatives?
With the little economics I learnt in school competition works well to benefit everyone in the long run especially a nation like ours where we have left farmers to their subsistence farming from a long time with little or no assistance.
Importation of goods when done legally is good for us, it keeps prices down and encourage companies to improve on their products.
It is all getting embarrassing just reading about this nearly everyday of yet another consumer goods being confiscated.
One argument was that we need to appreciate and use our own locally made goods as that is the way to grow the economy, really? If that was completely true then how much have we grown with the cement monopoly? God bless Dangote.
Nigerians will buy goods made in Nigeria when the price is competitive, forcing people to pay higher price for equal or lower quality will result in smuggling. We’ve seen plenty of that.
When there are many unreasonable restrictions on all goods, the prices stay up leaving the public to suffer the brunt of it all. If the borders were open for consumers goods that we clearly needed, then this companies can pay their taxes legally, prices is cheaper for Nigerians as we would have cut needless transportations costs and bribery at the borders.
What should be ultimate concern of our government at least for now is make sure products coming in to the country follow strict safety regulations not outright ban when there has not been viable alternative for the people.
Hopefully, the new ministers would pay attention to this age-old problem. The idea behind being self-sufficient is fantastic but banning consumer goods when we clearly not producing enough will only enrich few Nigerians while the population pay higher price.