The Founder/CEO of IO Furniture, Mrs. Munira Shonibare has urged the federal government to implement local content policy in the manufacturing sector, citing this as a means to economic empowerment and development. She said this recently during a courtesy visit of the Nigerian Institute of Architects to her factory and showroom in Lagos.
Shonibare stressed the importance of how polices favourable to indigenous companies turned around economies such as the United Arb Emirates (UAE) and Singapore to first world countries. She said: “Nobody is ever going to hand anything to us on a plate. Nobody is going to leave their own problems to solve your own problems and grow our economy.
“The federal government and Nigerians should support the local industry, because when you support the local industry you are empowering them. For example the Chinese government support and empower their industry. So you can’t compete with someone who has got industrial support with all manner of concessions from government. I can’t compete with someone who does not have to deal with infrastructure issues, interest rates. So we need the support and then it becomes a more level playing field.”
Speaking further she said: “They have got to invest in infrastructure and legislation. It is not ok for a foreign professional to come here and practice arbitrarily. You have to put laws and guidelines.”
She also applauded the government’s ban on importation of furniture, stating that, it was what prompted her into manufacturing. According to her, her company has been able to collaborate with an Italian team in manufacturing quality furniture as well as teaching and empowering furniture makers.
She further said: “One of my major goal is to make sure that a few made in Nigeria manufacturing companies participate in the Milan furniture fair because that is the biggest furniture fair in the world.”
On his part, the Chairman Nigerian institute of Architect, Lagos Chapter, Mr. Ladipo Lewis during his address said: “No foreign architect should come into Nigeria and practice on their own. They are expected to partner with local firms. The responsibility lies with us to ensure that our laws are obeyed.”
He also commented on countries such as Dubai and Singapore that have Local Content Act. “If these countries have turned their economies from third world to first world countries over night using these basis, we Nigerians should learn from them. Singapore is a 1st world country and in fifty years they were worse than Nigeria, now they are far ahead of us. So we need to address these issues,” he added.
Source: This Day Live