Nigerian imports

Nigerian imports
Published: 17 August 2004

About a fortnight ago, the Minister of Industries, Alhaji Mogaji Mohammed,
visited the cement works at Okpella in Edo State, which are now being
rehabilitated. Stating government’s objective of ensuring self-sufficiency
in the production of cement, he used the occasion to exhort that cement
companies should shift focus from merely rebagging imported bulk cement to
its full-scale local production as government would before long ban its
importation. Preparatory to effecting the ban, he promised to visit all the
cement firms to ascertain their capacity and verify whether their output
could satisfy local demand. He dwelt on the desirability of domestic
production generally and explained that a flood of all manner of imported
goods which could be locally produced, had scared away potential investors
and resulted in mass unemployment.

In the specific case of cement, an intermediate product which should be made
available as cheaply as possible, an incentive tax concession such as
exemption of new, resuscitated or all local cement factories from payment of
taxes for a stated period of time plus, if necessary, graduated accelerated
depreciation tied to the volume of output would make producers to
concentrate on domestic production because imported cement would attract
duty and become less profitable. Imports would likely fade out. And with
increasing volume of domestic output of cement, competition would force down
the price, further intensify consumption and thereby solidify economic