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Saraki set to amend Procurement Act, promote local goods

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Saraki said the Act will be amended to ensure that Made in Nigeria goods are patronized and that government agencies only resort to imported goods when there are no local alternatives.

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki is poised to ensure that ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods are promoted and patronized ahead of their foreign counterparts.

He disclosed this in a discussion with representatives from the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) led by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

The meeting centered around the Senate working to pass laws that would encourage more industries to source their raw materials locally.

Saraki was pleased to learn that ‘Made in Aba’ products have become so positively sophisticated that we now have local industries that specialize in making everything from leather designer loafers to military kits.

He assured the members of the delegation that the Senate Committee on Industry would begin looking at ways to expand the productivity scope of SMEDAN, because when small business owners succeed in their myriad realms of engagement, the economy is diversified, and we are all better off as a nation.

The Senate president also said that as a way of realising the objectives of the 2016 Budget, the Senate will immediately after the completion of the on-going process of passage of the Appropriation Bill, commence the amendment of the Procurement Act.

Saraki while addressing the organizers of the Made in Aba Trade Fair who visited him in his office said certain sections of the Act need to be reviewed to ensure that the scarce resources which are available from the budget are well utilized.

He said the Act will be amended to ensure that Made in Nigeria goods are patronized and that government agencies only resort to imported goods when there are no local alternatives. He also said areas of the law dealing with advance payment for government procurement should be scrutinized.

The Senate President said the 8th Senate under his leadership is in support of the protection of local industries through appropriate legislations, patronage and direct intervention.

“This is the only way we can create jobs, solve the problem of unemployment and stop the growing army of aggrieved youths who pose danger to society. We can do it. We have the population which translates to a huge ready market. This is how we van genuinely help our people.

“The chairmen of our relevant committees are being put on notice to ensure that they focus their oversight on these areas. We must make sure that government agencies like the Armed Forces can patronize the shoe making industries in Aba and other places”, he said.

He however urged local industries to increase the quality of their products and make their prices competitive. Saraki also thanked Senator Enyinaya Abaribe who led the delegation to his office for his consistency in promoting goods made in Aba over the years.

“Senator Abaribe has done so much in promoting Made in Aba goods. In fact, it is his constituency project and he has invested so much time and money on it, even before the decline in oil price. This is import substitution and I assure you of the support of the Senate in this endeavour”, he said.

Abaribe in his speech said the promoters of Made in Aba goods will want Section 34 sub sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Procurement Act amended so that government agencies will be required to buy local goods and can only resort to imported goods after getting certification from the Bureau of Public Procurement stating that there is no local alternative.

He urged the Senate President to help Aba based manufacturers get the much needed government recognition and encouragement. The group also invited Saraki to attend the trade fair holding in Abuja from February 9.

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