Banning importation is not enough to achieve industrialization and productivity

share on:

Rushing an accident victim’s recovery and ability to walk by removing his walking-stick or clutches may not yield desired results. Accident victims are often emotionally shocked, bleeding internally or having broken bones that require suitable treatment before they can walk. Efficiency in modern productivity and wealth-creation comes from industrializing a society to scientifically use their resources for producing useful commodities. And industrialising a society involves educating, organizing and providing raw-materials for people to become industrially creative and productive. If a structurally disorganized society bans importation to achieve industrialization without educating, organising and providing production raw-materials, frustration arises.


Several regimes of Nigerian government insist that Nigerians are lazy and unproductive because of the easy availability of imported goods. Hence, they insist on banning importation of goods that should be produced in Nigeria to provoke productivity through scarcity. They normally invoke the capitalist mantra, “you-either-swim-or-drown” as “you-either-produce-or-die-hungry”, to justify the ban on foreign goods. Yet, without proper swimming lessons and kits like swimming trunk, pedals and tubes many swimming beginners drown. Likewise, many Nigerians continue to die of hunger, sickness and poverty without proper education and resources for productivity.


Overdependence on importation springs from local unproductivity

Societies are formed by people’s agreement to collaborate and utilize their resources for producing what they need and trade. [1] Societies that are unable to produce what they need due to socio-political reasons or others, become dependent on other societies. Extremely dependent societies, who import virtually everything they consume, are like accident victims on clutches. They will not walk freely by removing the clutches, but by developing their mental and physical capacity to walk (produce). After physical/medical treatment, doctors encourage and guide patients to believe in themselves, stand and finally walk without clutches. Doctors evaluate the progress of physical healing before removing the clutches, otherwise the patients fall and lose hope of standing freely.


Why are Nigerians NOT industrially productive?

Colonialists created Nigeria by brutally binding hundreds of unconsented kingdoms and communities[2][3] under a militarized government for exploiting resources.[4] Before leaving at independence, colonialists fixed a constitution to guide their indigenous replacements[5] in seizing and exporting the people’s resources.[6][7][8] Due to this resource-confiscation, the different communities cannot produce anything from their resources, even if they acquire knowledge for production. Instead, Nigeria’s colonially-made government created states, local governments and ministries for sharing insufficient foreign products as amenities, salaries and regulations. These foreign amenities are the walking-clutches upon which unproductive Nigerians have been leaning since the creation of Nigeria. Nigerians still lean on importation for automobiles, pharmaceuticals, electronics, electricity, construction, metals, petroleum, agriculture and other products.


Is it really necessary to ban importation?

Many controversies rise about the immediate and intended effects of various importation bans in Nigeria. Among the banned commodities are livestock, edible oils, tomato-pastes, rice, beverages, old vehicles, drugs (3003&3004) and others.[9] The ban on these commodities is intended to encourage Nigerians to produce them locally, instead of depending on foreigners.


  • YES: hence, people who support immediately banning the importation of these consumable items insist they make Nigerians lazy to produce.
  • That the importations make it difficult for local producers to sell their products gainfully.


On the contrary, people who oppose immediately banning the importation of consumable goods argue that:

  • The imported consumable products are not even enough for the many Nigerians who need them.
  • Nigeria is not yet organized to collaborate for proper local productivity and may not meet the demand for consumable goods.
  • The scarcity of consumable goods leads to increase in smuggling and other crimes.
  • The scarcity of consumable goods due to import ban will cause inflation of prices.


Deciding the right time for banning importation

Despite the negative effects of banning importation, and the need to open borders for survival, Nigeria cannot depend perpetually on importation. An accident victim with broken bones and internal illness would not prefer to lean on clutches forever. As doctors treat and evaluate patients’ physical healing before removing clutches, responsible governments educate, organize and motivate their society for productivity before banning importation. Otherwise, frustration and other negative effects of banning importation will befall the society.


A responsible government will arise to liberate Nigerians from overdependence on importation by educating, reorganizing and motivating Nigeria for productivity. The responsible government may follow these steps:

  • Conduct a social research to ascertain and acknowledge the different Nigeria’s peoples and their respective lands and onshore resources.[10]
  • Organize intercommunal conferences within the colonially-merged sections and groups toward a national conference for the different peoples to agree on their partnership style. Thus, constitutional decisions and laws will reflect the people’s beliefs and agreement for a better partnership and technologically productive collaboration.[11]
  • Invite local (and maybe foreign) industrialists to train Nigerians to process their local resources for further industrial production. Hence, each section of the society will work to specialise in producing and processing more of whatever natural resources they have.[12]
  • Return the community-people’s onshore resources for industrial productivity and eventual tax-payment to government. This will motivate the government to encourage and protect people’s productivity for better tax-returns.[13] A productive people with active industries can provide what they need without overdependence on importation.
  • Create schemes for people with viable ideas to freely patent their ideas and obtain soft loans for Nigerian labour and raw-materials.
  • The businesspeople who had allied with foreign companies will be offered privileges to invest in, or establish local industries in Nigeria for production.
  • Foreign companies who are willing to collaborate will eventually be allowed to create other products in order to check indigenous laxity.


Nations of the world are interdependent as different countries require goods and services from other countries. But if a country depends on other countries for virtually everything, it becomes necessary to ban importation after teaching and organizing the society for productivity.

[1] Cf. Aristotle, politiks, Bk 1, Ch 1

[2] Ogban Ogban-Iyan, Re-inventing Nigeria through Pre-colonial traditions, in Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria, (ed.) Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin, Sally & Associates, 1999). P77

[3] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p.445

[4] Cf. Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa (Abuja: Panaf, 2009). P.293

[5] Cf. Walter Rodney, op. cit. 319.

[6] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2 “… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”  “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.”  “The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”

[7] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[8] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[9] Nigeria Customs Administration, Prohibition list. retrieved 14th November, 2018

[10] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “The social research for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija June 5, 2018. retrieved

[11] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “The social research for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija June 5, 2018. retrieved 22nd July, 2018

[12] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, ibid

[13] Cajetan Okeke, “Adjusting waste management for development and safety in Nigeria” in Restartnaija, July 31, 2018. Retrieved August 25, 2018.