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Nigerians urged to buy, consume locally produced goods, boost Naira value and economy

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity

*Ajuri Ngelale, Presidential Spokesman, emphasises President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration is focused on ensuring that it arrives at a new Minimum Wage that states of the Federation can afford, and fulfil all the needs of Nigerian families across the West African country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In renewed move to strengthen the Naira against other global currencies, the Federal Government has urged Nigerians to buy and consume Made in Nigeria products to boost the country’s economy.

ConsumerConnect reports Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made the call at a media briefing with the State House Correspondents Friday, March 22, 2024, in Abuja, FCT.

It is believed the latest call comes against the backdrop of the recent depreciation of the national currency, and attendant rising cost of living in the Nigerian economy.

The Presidential Spokesman noted the government believes the patronage of made in Nigeria products is essential to strengthen the Naira and wants citizens to buy goods produced in the country on order to make that happen.

‘Buy Nigeria, consume Made in Nigeria’

Ngelale averred: “One, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu wants to communicate very clearly to our people, that there has never been a more important time in our history to actively agree together.

“That we will patronise and purchase made-in-Nigeria products across all value chains across all sectors.”

According to him, Tinubu has done this, as he wants a strong currency; “we want the spending power of our people to go up.

“We want every Naira and kobo we earn to be more valuable not just here. But when we travel abroad, the way to achieve that is by doing just this.”

He also noted that Mr. President, beyond the appeal to Nigerians to actively and intentionally to make a decision every day to patronise made in Nigeria products and services across the board.

He is also wanting to ensure that Nigerians fully understand that the momentum that we are now seeing with respect to the strengthening of our currency is not going to slow down.

He stated: “The efforts that Mr. President has put in place with collaboration with other agencies of government, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, in dealing decisively with sharp practices on certain cryptocurrency trading platforms, dealing decisively with sharp practices within the parallel market of the foreign exchange ecosystem that these things are now yielding fruit.”

According to him, what the West African country now needs is to see is an active effort on the part of our people to blow the whistle wherever they see any of these sharp practices taking place, to communicate with the agencies directly that deal with these issues and understanding that this is not a government versus malign actors issue.

“This is a Federal Republic of Nigeria versus malign actors issue and the activities of these actors negatively impact everybody seated in this room and everybody watching this, this broadcast and all Nigerians both at home and abroad,” the Spokesman said.

On Federal Government’s interventions in economy

The Spokesman also affirmed this is one of the decisions President Tinubu has taken to ensure the continued strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against other global currencies.

The President’s media aide especially said in the last several days, Nigerians have witnessed the seismic shifts that have taken place Forex market, and the strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against the United States Dollars.

He further highlighted government interventions, particularly President Tinubu’s determination to ensure that the micro small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country have what they need to get through this difficult period.

He also affirmed the President had approved a presidential conditional grant scheme providing 1 million nano enterprises with non-repayable grants up to N50,000 and N75 billion to 75 large manufacturers employing over 1,000 Nigerians each, as some of the efforts the government is making to improve the lives of Nigerian consumers.

The President is doing everything he can to ensure that he steps in to ease the burden on families while also ensuring that he holds the public sector and the Federal Government of Nigeria accountable for prudent spending, Ngelale stated.

This, he noted, is demonstrated by ensuring a drastic cut down on travel expenditures, ensuring that with the temporary ban that is being put in place from April 1 on all but unnecessary foreign travel, which will save over N5 billion per quarter.

Insight into new National Minimum Wage proposal

Ngelale as well told reporters that President Tinubu desires to strengthen the currency sustainably before activating the new Minimum Wage for the workers.

He also confirmed that discussions on the Minimum Wage are ongoing, but what the government does not want “is a situation in which the minimum wage continues to be what it has always been in the history of our country, which is a moving goalpost.”

According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement, over N150 billion is being disbursed from the Bank of Industry and SMEDAN up on single digit interest rate, loans of up to N2 million to hundreds of 1000s of small and medium scale enterprises across all local government areas of the Federation.

“And of course, the President is determined to ensure that we steer lending toward labour intensive and inclusive you know developing sectors of the economy, ensuring that sectors like agriculture and manufacturing get the bulk of lending moving forward. Sectors like construction, the same thing.

“We want to ensure that those industries and sectors that are massively employing our people are those industries that are prioritised with respect to government intervention, which is why the President has approved over B75 billion to be dispersed to 75 large scale manufacturers across all states of the Federation.”

He further stated: “These are going to be manufacturers who employ over 1,000 Nigerians in each of their facilities and industries.

“We are going to ensure that they have the support that they need at the large scale, so that Nigerian families who rely on these large scale businesses are protected.

“We want to see our large scale industries, not just refuse to fire people, but to actively increase and expand their hiring at this difficult time.”

Ngelale noted: “So, the President is doing everything he can to ensure that he steps in to ease the burden on families while also ensuring that he holds the public sector and the federal government of Nigeria accountable to prudent spending, ensuring that we cut down drastically on travel expenditures, ensuring that with the temporary ban that is being put in place from April 1 on all but unnecessary foreign travel, we’re expecting to save over N5 billion per quarter.

“This is going to be one out of several initiatives the President is taking to ensure that we reduce waste in the public sector in such a way that we can actually steer these very needed recurrent resources into the hands of those who are doing important work on behalf of the Nigerian people.”

The Government observed that Nigerians are well aware that judicial officers in the country are going to finally have internationally competitive pay rates, salary skills, which is very important for us very strategic in the sense that we can dramatically reduce the impact that corruption has always played in the judiciary, which has an impact on not just the ability of Nigerians to you know, get effective justice in the country, but also to ensure that businesses who we are now asking around the world to invest in Nigeria have a judicial system that they can trust with respect to any litigation that could arise from business practice in the country.

The effects are huge and the President is taking a multi sectoral and comprehensive approach to ensuring that we bring prudence to government expenditure at a time when we are restructuring the economy of the Federation in such a way that sectors that are employing our people that are empowering our people are those sectors that will be able to more easily access lending both commercially and from public sector sources, said the Spokesman.

So, the momentum of the Nigerian Naira and it’s strengthening. Nigerians should expect that to continue. Yes, we understand that there’s still going to be volatility to some extent, but we are seeing a lessening impact of that volatility and as we move forward with the interventions Mr. President is making in the foreign exchange market and will continue to make we will see increasing stability.

The Presidential media aide stated: “And the last point we want to emphasise is that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu while he’s dealing decisively with the issue of the spending power of every Naira and Kobo that Nigerians are earning today.

“He is also ensuring that we bring a sustainable strength to the currency so that when we talk about a new minimum wage, because many of our people have asked, you know government officials about when the new minimum wage is coming in, those negotiations are ongoing.

“But what we do not want is a situation in which the minimum wage continues to be what it has always been in the history of our country, which is a moving goalpost.

“If we do not get a firm grip on the value of our currency and it continues to be a volatile, devaluing asset, then whatever we do with the national minimum wage is going to essentially become a moot point, nullity.

“And so we are focused on ensuring that yes, we arrive at a new minimum wage that states can afford, and that will deal with all of the needs of Nigerian families across the country.”

Ngelale also assured: “We also want to ensure that what we peg it at is something that is sustainable over a number of years based on the long term, you know, stability that we want to bring to the Nigerian Naira with the interventions we’re presently making.

“And this is the point that His Excellency Mr. President wants to emphatically make today.

“There is stability coming to the currency, we’re getting closer to it, and when the new minimum wage comes into effect it is going to be one that will be sustained over a long period of time by a stable Nigerian Naira based on the interventions being made under his leadership.

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