Audu Ogbeh

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, made a shocking revelation, yesterday, when he told the Senate Committee on Agriculture that some Nigerians now order pizza from London.

In his presentation to the lawmakers, the Minister said that they order the pizza in the morning through British Airways and pick it up later in the evening.

“Do you know, sir, that there are Nigerians who use their cellphones to import pizza from London; they buy in London and bring it on British Airways in the morning to pick up at the airport. It is a very annoying situation and we have to move a lot faster in cutting down some of these things.”

What could have led to this? – According to the Minister, Nigeria has always been an importing country. Many of its citizens have always preferred foreign products to locally-made ones.

“Nigeria is a nation of importers. Toothpick every year costs us 18 million dollars; tomato paste costs us 400 million dollars. Meanwhile, a basket of tomatoes is less than N2,000. The farmers are losing money because the processors do not have enough funds to set up factories. Two factories have started off. I am sure by the end of next year we can comfortably tell the importers of tomato paste to stop.”

The importation of pizza is strange

Every year, Nigeria expends billions of dollars on importation. Most of the consumer products in the country are imported. Therefore, importation is not a new development for the country.

Nigerians react

But that not withstanding, the actual possibility that Nigerians also import pizza is quite bizarre. This is why many Nigerians took to Twitter to air their views on the matter. Some of them expressed their disbelief over the Minister’s statement.

Other Nigerians argued that there is nothing wrong with British Airways flying into Nigeria with fresh London pizza. After all, the same British Airways flights always return to London with fresh Nigerian vegetables.

What could possibly go wrong?

Importation is unfavourable for the Nigerian economy – Therefore, Nigerians’ high taste for foreign can adversely affect the Nigerian economy. Highlighted below are some of the things that could go wrong-

  • High level of importation often results in forex scarcity.
  • High value of importation could lead to unfavourable trade balances for Nigeria.
  • Since Nigerians would rather import goods that can be easily produced locally, many local companies could fold up.
  • Thousands of Nigerians could lose their jobs if local companies close shop due to competition.
  • Dumping has affected local products due to the heavy inflow of low-priced foreign goods which are pushed out of imported countries into Nigeria.

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