Speakers at the fifth Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders Conference unanimously agreed that there is a need for a deliberate and strategic approach involving public, private sector partnership lead by the government to address the reputation challenges of Made in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Conference, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, said that there is no better time than now to deliberate on how to promote Made in Nigeria, that the patronage of Made in Nigeria goods would boost domestic production, promote technology transfer and impact positively on GDP performance. He noted that Government at all levels has major roles to play in the promotion of Made in Nigeria products.
According to him, “Government in Nigeria are big spenders and could make a significant impact on the fortune of domestic producers. We would like to see a demonstrable commitment to the recent Executive Order on the patronage of Made in Nigeria products as well as indigenous skills. The country’s population is estimated at 200 million, Nigeria is home to about one in five Africans. Our youths are creative and enterprising. These are strengths we can leverage to promote the Nigerian products and services.
A major multiplier effect of patronizing local products is the increased demand for local labour. The country’s foreign reserves would also be conserved thus ensuring the stability of our macroeconomics, he added.
Delivering the keynote address at the Conference, themed: Addressing Communication and Reputation Challenges of Made in Nigeria, the Managing Director, Emerging Africa Capital Group, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sanni, explained that as a country, we need to make sure we are communicating right. She said that Made in Nigeria is not just about physical products, but everything related to Nigeria; education, dressing, attitude to work, quality of service and relationship with others among others.
According to her, “There is the need for conscious creation of Brand Nigeria. We must be deliberate to adopt all measures to promote the best of our country in the world. We need to understand that perception is reality and that our communication must be deliberate and strategic, involving everyone to sell Brand Nigeria. Before you market products, services and business, you need to market your country first. No one wants to do business with people who say their own country is no good; the people you are selling to should also buy into where you are coming from”.
Other distinguished speakers at the Conference included the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Lagos State, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye represented by Mrs. Ayo Abiodun, Chief Register of Cooperatives in the Ministry; Managing Director, Rite Foods Limited, Mr. Seleem Adegunwa; Managing Director, CMC Interiors Limited, Miss Yinka Osobu and Group Managing Director, The CARITAS Group, Mr. Adedayo Ojo.
The conference concluded that:
• Nigeria is operating at a very low capacity, due to infrastructural challenges
• Made in Nigeria products are of quality, but are competing with low cost imported goods
• we must patronize Made in Nigeria to encourage survival
• Government should lead the way in patronizing Made in Nigeria products
• Government communication is a major problem facing the ‘Made in Nigeria’ brand
• Government should be strategic in its communication and everybody should be speaking with the same voice
• We need to promote institutional standardization to get the best out of our production
• We need to work on the institutional framework to check corruption
• The nature and quality of education- there is the need to promote vocational training, we should not just focus on paper qualification
• Nigeria should articulate a communication strategy on how we are going to brand Nigeria and Nigerians needs to Speak positively about Made in Nigeria.
The Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference is the brainchild of Addefort Limited; a public relations and concept development firm.