Don’t Ship the Raw. Hey, Don’t! BBy Oshaloto, Joseph Tade 

I’m particularly impressed by the interest of Nigerians in many of our indigenous products. We’re clearly fascinated by what we’ve got. From Naija aṣọ ẹbi clothings to food varieties, our music and drama to our brand of comedy and gists – you just know ours is a population that admires what it’s got. 
It gets equally exciting when your friends and relatives abroad flaunt items Nigeriana with such poise and carriage that is simply unmistakable. There’s something deeply satisfying about this. 
This achievement, aside its intangible gains of national pride and dignity has also assisted in pooling our homegrown ideas and creativities into the global marketplace. The economics behind their explanations as  potential foreign exchange earners certainly does not require a PhD. 
For example, the production of indigenous fabric by a significant indigenous fashion population which has met and exceeded local consumption simply becomes export ready. Dollars will simply exchange hands. This has been happening. 
This was the major emphasis of the Emir of Kano in a recently concluded Kano Economic Summit. He made clear his disdain for a Kano that’ll keep exporting hides or groundnuts or any of its raw materials. 
You weigh his calls against a recent announcement that Nigeria is exporting RAW (and I mean UNPROCESSED yams) tubers of yams to the UK and sigh. 
Perhaps impressed as I am, the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, led by Mr. Audu Ogbeh, tried lamely to replicate the examples set by the real champions of our economy – our fashion designers, beadmakers, visual artists, our filmmakers and musicians, our comedians and other #SMEs whose homegrown creativity are export ready. I was shocked that  Mr Audu Ogbeh led MARD’s knowledge of economics – particularly export – is that basic. I also read some French and I will tell anyone who cares to listen that being a French graduate does not excuse you from basic economics. 
The economic crazy idea of shipping every raw material out of our country is the saddest joke. I’d forever hoped uncle Ogbeh wouldn’t allow this happen in the ministry he principals. Watching him speak eloquently earlier in the year about his understanding of production driven (sic) agriculture made me fall for him absolutely helplessly (I remember my friend Akinlolu Olojede trying to talk me out of trusting our present crop of leaders). Sad that this very noble ministry hasn’t yet come to terms with processing agric produce. The shit is still watery. 
All the resources in which the federal government has major stakes are shamefully shipped offshore; talk of the over 20 different deposits in Kogi, the mammoth cocoa in the southwest, intimidating grains supply in the North and an oceanic petroleum in the South-south, the government of the Federal Republic has a terrible history of economic irresponsibility. 
Something has to change. 
Think we need some elementary econs. 
Leave your comments on oshalototade.wordpress.com or http://www.facebook.com/tadejoe. 
Thanks for reading.

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