In recent days the government has come out to ask and plead with Nigerians to patronize our made in Nigerian goods; If not for anything else, then for the growth of the Nigerian economy. A lot of us believe that the lack of patronage of Nigerian goods is due to our increased appetite for foreign ones, but I would want us to ask, why do we prefer these goods made outside Nigeria, even if it is from Ghana?
Let me attempt to state my two cents on the issue. To achieve an increase in the purchase of Nigerian products, the following issues will need to be addressed if Nigerians are going to not only buy Nigerian now, but for a long time to come. To begin with, the Government needs to continue to put out and enforce laws that aid the production process. Copyright laws, intellectual property rights, standardization regulation, consumer protection, and the like, need to be viewed more seriously than is being done. This will not only ensure that owners of products and services are protected, it will encourage those with ideas to pursue them, and also prevent and punish peddlers of fake and substandard goods and services. Prosecution for customer service failures that leads to losses are rare if they exist; from the hospital that causes death due to negligence to the banks that promise “24/7 ATM SERVICE” and do not deliver. Government has a broader role in stimulating purchase of made in Nigeria goods and services than just asking we do.
There needs to be a greater attention to detail on the part of producers as this has robbed many Nigerian goods of patronage. Their inattention to detail expressed in poor finishing pitches them unfavorably against their foreign competitors. If you ask the average Nigerian why she or he prefers foreign goods most of the replies will reference the quality of products. This is in addition to the use of substandard or inferior raw materials. We have a penchant for concentrating on the big things while neglecting the little things that tie all that hard work nicely together.
Production is not complete until the good or service gets to the consumer. But in Nigeria, customer (consumer) service na big wahala. If there is anything the Nigerian economy lacks, is consistent quality customer service/care. It quite often does not exist. Avoidance of empathy, insensitivity to customer’s needs and wants by producers and service providers has helped fuel this. From the market women/men, banks, hospitals, government offices, name it, it just ain’t there! Customer service starts at the point of conceptualization and ideally all through the production process, it drives the whole process. We seem to be focused more on sales and profit by all means than consumer satisfaction. This is responsible for a lack of “warranty, return/refund Policies”, very few loyalty programs, and the like. Regrettably because we have refused to imbibe the economic truth that repeat customer purchase is the key to growth and not the one-time-sales that seems to be our focus.
Other issues include a lack of branding/misbranding our made in Nigeria products with names of more established foreign names to drive sales, inadequacy of research and development to bring out products that are suited to our peculiar needs and wants; poor marketing activities, corruption in the production process, and other problems and issues that need attention and resolution.
There is more to buying Nigeria than wishing or pleading it happens. When and if we sort these highlighted issues, then we can start on our way towards a sustained acceptability and patronage of Nigerian products and services, and enjoy the attached economic prosperity and stability that accompanies it.
God bless Nigeria.