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n a well-meaning tweet urging Pakistani masses to prefer buying local products over foreign made, the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi faced unexpected pushback. It was only natural that Mr Aliv’s tweet had received strong and scathing criticisms. Not the suggestion, but the poor qualities of the local products made people react so harsh to a very decent proposal. It is an unfortunate reality that the quality control mechanisms in the country are not effective in ensuring that the consumers will get quality products.

Though the call of Mr Alvi to buy local products is not out of this world as many other leaders have also appealed before their people to support local products; however, the tweet of the President shows that consumer behaviour and psyche works on different metrics. The reason that people choose foreign over local products is the substandard quality of the locally manufactured goods.

Before asking people to support the local industry, the government needs to incentivise people to purchase domestic products. If the state-established quality control criteria and mechanisms ensure production of high-quality goods, anyone in their right mind will take the advice of Mr Alvi with all seriousness.

The government can look at the response to the tweet as a consumer survey. A good number of people have expressed their displeasure over the quality of locally made products. The state has already found the reasons why people do not prefer local products. Now the government needs to take some action. The ruling party should restructure the price and quality standards so that local goods can be brought at par with foreign products. Only then the appeal of politicians before masses to prefer local industry to foreign ones will find hearing ears.

At the same time, the people also need to realise that everything foreign does not mean that they are getting high-end products. There is a plethora of study on markets that suggests that in many of the consumable products, customers should prefer local produce over foreign. The rationale for proposing so is the emphasis on higher nutritional values when compared with imported goods that suffer from long transport times.

Developed countries like Germany, France, Britain and the United States of America (USA), despite their firm belief in the benefits of globalisation, support the local produce. But the only difference is that in those countries the local authorities do not compromise on the quality of local produce. Hence, it is convenient for politicians in those countries to convince people to opt for locally manufactured products, even if they are priced above average.