The Executive Chairman of United Technologies Limited, Otunba Aderemi Abdul-Bojela, has said that consumer credit will drive economic development in Nigeria.
According to him, consumer credit will promote industrialization and ensure competitiveness for made-in-Nigeria goods.
He stated this during an exclusive chat with Nairametrics on the sideline of the presentation of the proposed FG-backed Consumer Credit Guarantee Scheme tagged ‘Quality Life Improvement Plan (QLIP)’, a blueprint designed to assist local manufacturers.
He explained that with the credit system, the purchasers will be geared towards buying what is made in Nigeria, which technically will improve the quality of life of Nigerians because they have access to the concessionary interest rates.
Expected impact of inflation: On how rising inflation will impact the consumer credit system, Abdul-Bojela said until Nigeria becomes a true manufacturing nation and stop being over-dependent on imports, inflation will reduce. He said:
- “Currently, we are not a manufacturing nation, so imports come in with inflation. But the moment we start making attempts to meet some of our needs locally, it will naturally reduce inflation.
- “So and then our factories will be able to produce at the scale we were able to reduce the cost of production and the product will be very competitive as against imported items.”
It will ensure job creation: Abdul-Bojela noted that only Nigeria can create jobs to industrialize adding that no policy can command the creation of jobs without going into industry.
- “What made China tick today in the last 40 years is the ability to go massively into manufacturing. So we need to take a lead from that as well. Nigeria must become a manufacturing nation. We have ample opportunities. Some structures have been put in place like Africa, the continental free trade area.
- “Nigeria is eminently qualified to lead that institution by our market, our human development index, and all those things that will make a nation graduate into industrialization Nigeria has it, once we put the right policies in place, particularly an innovation like this.
- “Every nation of the western world particularly the US comes up with innovation every 10 years, that’s what develops the economy, Nigeria should leap from that.
- “We cannot be going around in a cycle and not getting appropriate results. This is one scheme that will provide an opportunity for the government to create jobs, diversify the economy, to stimulate growth. All those things that the government has been looking for, this is a major innovation that will make it happen.”
More expected benefits: He noted that the scheme will help various facets of the economy to achieve the quantum leaps essential to becoming a developed nation, adding that it will bring solutions to the tripod of challenges that successive governments have grappled with: development of the economy, job creation, and diversification beyond oil. He said:
- “As a manufacturer of air-conditioning units and refrigerating equipment across decades, we encountered so many challenges and this prompted us to look for a solution to help us overcome those challenges. This search gave birth to the Quality Life Improvement Plan, a formula that has been successfully test-run with leading commercial banks, cooperative societies, and citizens.
- “QLIP is positioned to help promote local consumption, which enhances local manufacturing with a chain effect across the economy. What this translates to, in the final analyses, are increased government revenue, technological development, and increased Gross Domestic Product, while improving Nigerian’s quality of life and productivity.”
He further noted that the scheme is coming at a time when the high cost/scarcity of foreign exchange, customs duty, and power supply have forced a lot of manufacturing companies to go under.
Demand for foreign goods: According to him the increasing demand for foreign goods by consumers is draining national reserves, and further straining the national economy, hence there is a need for a national consumer credit scheme to encourage consumers towards made-in-Nigeria goods.
- “When we patronize made-in-Nigeria products, the impact on our economy will be enormous and it will help companies favourably compete with their foreign competitors,” Abdul-Bojela said.