Local Content is defined as the quantum of composite value; either added to or created in the Nigerian economy through a deliberate utilization of Nigerian human resources, material resources and services in the exploration, development, exploitation, transportation and sales of Nigerian crude oil and gas resources.
It is basically a set of actions – local recruitment, training, purchases of local goods and services – that are designed to develop the industrial infrastructure and skills of the people in countries that host businesses or projects.
Obviously, our penchant for importation in this country is killing the local industry. Nigeria import from toothpicks to turbines, pencils to chalk, eraser to cotton wool. Nigeria even imports wheat 100% and what have you.
China on the other hand had to look inward, in the face of severe sanctions from the west, to be able to stand out as the fastest growing economy in the world. Little wonder, America is busy organizing economic summits, perhaps to tacitly dissuade other nations from patronizing made-in-china goods.
For her part, and interestingly, Malaysia rode on the back of Nigeria to look inward, on her way to becoming (order to become) the highest producer of palm oil before the year, 2006 – they are now second only to Indonesia. They (Malaysia) tapped from just one of the vast resources Nigeria is endowed with – importing Nigeria’s palm kernel into their country.
With the awareness created of the different opportunities on offer by cooperatives, unpopular and/or non-existent cooperatives societies like that of Cobbling, Printing, Transportation, Butcher, Potter, Embroidery, etc., should be encouraged, so as to serve as a tool for poverty alleviation, where peasants, can earn their livelihood through fruitful engagement in cooperative business
To substantiate the value of the cooperatives, the Nigerian Government need only look at the evidences there are on the successes recorded by cooperatives in many African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco, etc. It is also pertinent to note that Israel used cooperatives to boost agriculture – The Kibuttz and Moshavs readily come to mind. They also used cooperatives to wield themselves together in the face of aggression from the Arab countries surrounding them. In the southern part of Kaduna, farm produce like Acha (Digitaria spp), Ginger, among others, are fast becoming major source of income. A bag of ginger presently sold for between N17,000.00 and N19,000.
Without a doubt, Nigeria has been running a mono-economy, characterized by over-dependence on petro-dollar – no thanks to the fallen price of oil at the international market and the economic melt-down. There is an urgent need to take advantage of the rebased GDP to create employment and wealth through opportunities that a reformed cooperative practice can offer – and there are many of such opportunities. At all costs, there should be a paradigm shift from conventionalities – a complete breakaway from over-dependence on oil. Nigeria should not wait to be a pariah nation before she can take advantage of the vast untapped opportunities that abound in the cooperatives.
We can take a cue from countries, where in the face of nothing, withdraw to the inside and came out stronger, and today can hold their own in the comity of nations.
Amos Samson Ninyio