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Why Nigerians don’t patronise locally made products

There have been recent calls by the government at various levels and some concerned individuals on Nigerians to buy products made in Aba so as to make the naira stronger.

There are people who would choose indigenous products anytime, even if they are of the same price with foreign ones. Also, many patronise foreign products even if they are three times more expensive. Consumer purchasing habits, therefore, vary owing to some factors.

On one hand, consumers seem to value foreign brands and regard them as “status symbol”. But they are often criticised for threatening the local industries, thereby leading to loss of cultural identity.

Some consumers believe that purchasing local goods promotes patriotism; they, therefore, accuse foreign brands of being a threat to the country’s economy and employment level. However, it is important to note also that a good item should have some unique proposition to satisfy a consumer’s needs.

The attitudes and perceptions of consumers towards choice of goods sometimes depend on categories. Example; in Nigeria today, electronic goods from Italy may be perceived as of poor quality, but Italian clothing would be perceived as fashionable and of high quality. Japanese electronics would be perceived with positive attitude while their clothing would be negatively perceived.

However, patriotic consumers believe that our local companies have competitive edge over their foreign competitors because they are closer to consumers here and have a better understanding of what people want. They fear that buying foreign products may hinder the growth of local companies in the country.

Several reasons have been postulated by Nigerians and bitter experiences shared with our correspondent for the huge preference given to foreign products over made in Nigeria products.

This preferential treatment for foreign goods ranges from shoes, bags, belts, among others, to vehicles.

Pressure from contractors to lower standards 

Mr. Anayo Ihechukwu, one of the manufacturers of military and para military boots in Aba, told Daily Trust that individuals who secured contracts from government for the supply of military wears often asked them to lower the quality in order for the contractors to make some profit.

Discrimination

Mrs. Francesca Okoguo, a hair dresser who lives in Arochukwu but visits Umuahia on market days, spoke widely on why Nigerians preferred foreign products. “Sometimes we are our own problems. Most people see goods made in Nigeria as inferior and not up to standard to goods made in other countries and as a result decide not to buy Made in Nigeria products. Also, the desire to sell off old stock most times compels most local manufacturers to label their products “Made in Italy”. Those who are willing to purchase made in Nigeria goods get discriminated against with statements like, “Na Aba made the guy dey wear.” As a result of this some people stop buying made in Nigeria goods to avoid such embarrassing remarks.

Also, Mr. Anthony Iwuoha, a journalist, said government was not paying attention to locally made goods, “We have refineries, textile industry, but government policies are not just favourable.”

Quality

He said, “No one will ever want to buy a product that is of low quality. Most made in Nigeria products are of low quality either as a result of the producers trying to make bigger profit or over management of resources. For instance, you cannot expect a Nigerian to purchase a bag of rice of which half is filled with stones and other dirt, rather, the Nigerian will prefer to purchase a bag of rice that is produced elsewhere and is stone-free.

Mr. Segun Ogungbola said when he was growing up his father often advised him not to use made in Nigeria batteries in his torchlight. He said his father preferred foreign products because they lasted longer.

Also, too many layers of taxation will affect the quality of products that come out from the local manufacturers.

Poor advertisement/awareness

Advertisement is king. Most Nigerian producers and manufacturers fail to recognise the importance of advertising. How would a Nigerian know there are products produced in Nigeria that satisfy his needs when proper advertisement is not done to bring the existence of such products to his notice? Since there is no awareness concerning such products, they will buy goods made outside Nigeria which proper advertisement and awareness is available. For instance, if the vice president or governors can be seen wearing made in Nigeria shoes and they take time to canvass for their patronage, Nigerians will feel obliged to do same.

Price 

On the issue of price, many Nigerians say price is considered one of the most important factors affecting consumers’ perception of products. Once consumers perceive a price difference between local and foreign item, it will begin to affect their preference for local goods.

In other words, if they notice that local items are more expensive than foreign ones, they go for the foreign ones.

Nigerian producers and manufactures are to blame for this. Sometimes they want to make quick money or super normal profit and in the process increase the prices of their goods to the level of the ones produced in other countries. Why will a Nigerian want to buy a good produced in Nigeria which price is more than that which is produced outside Nigeria? Goods produced in the country should be cheaper.

A high-priced item may be perceived of being high in quality because of the image created by manufacturers through advertising. Similarly, a global product may be perceived to be of superior quality as quality is believed to be a prerequisite for international acceptance.

To some, their purchasing pattern depicts their social status. It is believed that people, especially young ones, consider current fashion and trends while buying products. Through television, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the fashion and trends in other parts of the world. Hence, the fashion and trends dictate preference.

However, most people go for international brands rather than local ones. They feel proud when they buy imported items because, to them, they depict class.

Poor after-sales services

Dr. Ifeyinwa Stephen said poor after-sales service was responsible for his refusal to patronise made in Nigeria products. He said, “If you purchase a Toyota car today, rest assured that there are many authorised outlets such as Elizade Motors, where you can service or maintain the car in most parts of Nigeria. On the other hand, if you purchase an Innoson vehicle which is produced in Nigeria but doesn’t have authorised servicing outlets, you will definitely be discouraged.”

Most wealthy people and top government functionaries patronise foreign products over locally made products. 

They say all the talk of patronage of locally produced goods is not matched with action and that everything consumed at key government offices, apart from water, are all imported. Interestingly, each time any senior government official’s child is getting married or burying their parents, privileged Nigerians at such occasions can attest to items such as wine, dresses, shoes and other items from such events as being imported from either Europe or the United States of America.

Therefore, patronage of made in Nigeria products still seems to be a dream in the pipeline which may not be realised in the nearest future.

(source daily trust)

Onwughalu queen
Onwughalu Queen is a human rights activist, writer, and business specialist
http://Queenzblog.com

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