‘Local, foreign investments critical to growth of trade, industry’
by FRANK UZUEGBUNAM & FRANK ELEANYA
June 22, 2016 | 10:47 am| | | Start Conversation
Local and foreign investments have been identified as being critical to the development and growth of trade and industry in Nigeria. The remark was made by Okechukwu Enelamah, minister of industry, trade and investment, at the Deloitte C-Suite Engagement conference held in Lagos.
Enelamah said even though that Nigeria underperformed among its regional and global peers on industrial exports, the country remained potentially attractive and the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy remained strong in the mid-term.
The minister noted that the vision of the ministry was built on five pillars – create, implement, champion, attract and strengthening ties with strategic partners and international organisations to foster regional and international trade.
When broken down, the vision aims to create an enabling environment for industry, trade and investment in Nigeria, implement the industrial revolution plan (NIRP), champion the cause of Nigeria’s macro and small medium enterprise (MSME), and attract long-term local and foreign investment proactively.
“The role of the private sector is critical in implementing the vision of the ministry of trade and investment. Today, Nigeria is considered a difficult place to do business but we aspire to be less than 100th position by 2019. We are open and ready for business,” said Enelamah.
To facilitate the partnership with the private sector, the ministry, according to the minister, is implementing an enabling environment initiative to ease doing business in Nigeria. The initiative is chaired by the Vice President and assisted by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. Other members include 9 federal ministers, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and selected leaders in various sectors of the economy.
The goal of the initiative, Enelamah said, is to address the country’s underperformance in global industrial development. Nigeria’s GDP in industrial development is 10 percent compared to South Africa, Kenya and Morocco which are at 16, 11, and 15 percent, respectively.
To reverse the trend, Enelamah noted that repositioning the SMEs as key contributors was important. In view of this, he disclosed, the government had set an ambitious goal of providing funding and technical assistance to about 1 million beneficiaries – mainly SMEs. The SMEs will cut across market women and traders, artisans and MSMEs, enterprising youth, farmers and agric workers among others.
The ministry also plans to grow the volume of industrial exports by promoting the integration of Nigeria into global value chains for value-added industrial exports and not raw materials; through capacity building and incentives.
“Building on Mr. President’s successful visits, we are implementing strategic partnership framework with countries to boost trade. Example with China, United Arab Emirates, China, United States, Singapore, etc,” said Enelamah.
The ministry also hopes to engage the national assembly in the “Enactment of legislation-based defence of the Nigerian economy. Urgent drafting of WTO- consistent law and regulation on safeguard, anti-dumping and countervailing duties,” he said.
The Deloitte C-Suite Engagement featured a presentation of two reports; the Deloitte Nigeria CFO report which is a snapshot of the views, expectations and challenges of financial stewards as they negotiate global and local economic fluctuations. The survey for the report sought the CFOs views on the economy and business climate, funding and cash flow, business strategies, domestic and political challenges and the role of CFO. The second report is the Deloitte Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2016.
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