By Kingsley Adegboye
FOLLOWING the ban on furniture from outside the country by the Federal Government, the government has been urged to come up with friendly policy frame works that would make business environment conducive for the operators and enable them to compete with their foreign counterparts.
The ban was informed by the need to encourage the growth of local manufacturers of interior decoration products in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer of Adam & Eve, a Lagos-based one-stop shop for interior decoration items, Mrs. Modupe Ogunlesi, who made the call in a chat with Vanguard Homes & Property at its Isaac John, Ikeja premises, said local manufacturers need to be encouraged by the government for them to improve on their finished products which make foreign products better than the locally made ones.
According to Adam & Eve boss who disclosed that the company is marking its 20th anniversary in the country’s interior design industry this Sunday, the government should come up with policy frame works that are friendly to encourage local manufacturers to produce to international standard rather than banning foreign goods from coming into the country. She said the company has concluded plans the 20th anniversary with works of Art to be exhibited at the 3rd floor of Adam & Eve this Sunday by Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Raqib Bashorun, Lekan Onabanjo, Tola Wewe, Duke Asidere,Alex Nwokolo, zinno Orara and Fidelis Odogwu.
“We have to encourage the local industry to flourish, but you cannot ban things from coming into the country. That is not right. When it gets to the time when the finishing of our furniture products is at par with the ones from Italy, Spain and other countries, then we can begin to talk about ban.
“Cost of labour is very cheap in Nigeria compared to abroad. What makes the imported products more expensive is cost of labour, freight charges and import duties paid to clear goods. So, when it gets to the point where our local products can compete with the foreign ones favourably, it is just natural that we will jettison foreign goods for Nigerian goods. The right now is for us to look at house first before we talk of banning this or that.
“By placing the ban, you are making things more difficult and expensive for your people. What the needs to do is to empower the local manufacturers to improve on what they are doing to raise the standard to the level of foreign products. If there is competition between local producers and foreign producers, the local producers will have to do more to improve on their products to have a share of the market
“We need to push our local production to a level where people from other countries will import from us just as we are importing from Italy, Spain and other countries. If the competition is keen, you will work hard. If we had said no other music in Nigeria except Nigerian music, the music industry in Nigeria would not have grown to the level it is today”, Mrs. Ogunlesi noted.
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