The minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, recently raised a lot of dust about how some Nigerians import both raw and finished goods, when he said some even order pizzas from London on British Airways.
Ogheh’s statements was received with mixed reactions. Some believe there is no issue as to the level the minister is getting amazed as importation of luxuries has become the norm overtime. Many others also rightly believe that the neoliberal order which Nigeria’s ruling class and capitalists across the world have subscribed to for the past four decades is at the root of the problem.
Importation is an essential part of the Services sector which the economy has been largely dependent on as a complement to the oil sector. This has been a large one since the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in the mid-80s by the Babangida regime as a localisation of the Breton Woods Institutions’ ideas of capitalist economics as against the state capitalism that was in practice. This means that state infrastructure is transferred by all means to private pockets through such anti-people ideas as privatizations and commercialisation.
In the automobile and textiles sectors for instance, the local manufacturing companies have been destroyed through these policies since the introduction of SAP. Now, textiles and automobiles are imported in a very ridiculous manner that it plunges employment and local businesses into chaos and demobilization. Yet, various governments especially that of Buhari under which Audu Ogbeh serves have merely paid lip service to ending the regime of importations. This is because the government serves only the rich who gain from this.
We demand renationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy that have been handed over to private capitalists and will continue to fight for these to be under workers’ democratic control and management. and an end to neo-liberalism. This requires the establishment of revolutionary government of the working people, which will take society beyond the limits of capitalism, including the importation of services and products like “pizzas!”
by Kunle Wizeman AJAYI