By Chukwubike Favour Mmesoma
Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, has been facing the negative consequences of its heavy reliance on imported goods. This has had a significant impact on the country’s economy and society, and it’s crucial that steps are taken to address this issue.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2019, Nigeria imported goods worth over $22 billion, with China as its main trading partner. The majority of these imports are consumer goods such as electronics, clothing, and food, but the country also imports essential items like fuel and machinery.
The preference of Nigerians for foreign goods and services over locally produced ones, despite the lower quality of the imported goods, has had a negative impact on the country’s economy. (Gabriel)
One of the biggest issues with importation is that it has led to a decline in the nation’s external reserves and an increase in the number of unemployed youth as local industries struggle to compete with cheaper imports.
Furthermore, the constant need to import goods has depleted Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, making it hard for the country to finance its development projects.
Importation has also hindered the growth and development of local industries. With the constant influx of cheaper imports, many local manufacturers have been forced to close their businesses, resulting in a decline in industrial output.
The impact on society is also significant. The influx of counterfeit and substandard goods has raised concerns about health and safety among Nigerian citizens. Many of these goods do not meet the required standards and can be harmful to the population.
One of the frustrating aspects is that Nigeria imports goods that could easily be manufactured within the country, despite its abundance of natural resources. According to Nigeria’s Agric Minister, the yearly cost of importing toothpicks from China and Germany is around $15 million. Despite the potential for toothpicks to be produced domestically, a significant amount of money is still spent on importing them. Dino Melaye, a former senator, expressed his disappointment that Nigeria mostly exports raw materials and then imports finished goods made from those same materials, citing examples such as exporting crude oil and then importing refined oil products, exporting cocoa and importing chocolate, and exporting timber and importing furniture, including toothpicks. (Julius)
It is also a common occurrence for Nigerian citizens to spend money on importation courses, in order to import goods that could be manufactured in Nigeria if the necessary equipment were available.
To address this problem, the Nigerian government needs to take a proactive approach. One solution could be to support and encourage local industries by providing them with resources to compete with imported goods. This could be done through tax incentives, subsidies, and access to credit.
Another solution would be to implement stricter import regulations to prevent the influx of counterfeit and substandard goods. This could be achieved through stricter quality control measures and increased collaboration with other countries to combat the trade of counterfeit goods.
Lastly, Nigeria should aim to become more self-sufficient by investing in agriculture and other sectors of the economy that have the potential to create jobs and generate foreign exchange. This would reduce the country’s dependence on imports and help create a more sustainable economy.
In conclusion, Nigeria’s heavy reliance on imported goods has had a negative effect on the country’s economy and society. However, by taking proactive measures such as supporting local industries, implementing stricter import regulations, and promoting self-sufficiency, Nigeria can overcome this issue and build a more sustainable and prosperous future.
Chukwubike Favour Mmesoma, is of the Lagos State University, Badagry Express Way, Ojo. P.M.B. 1087 Apapa, Lagos State.