Dear Honourable Ministers,
OPEN LETTER TO OUTGOING AND INCOMING HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT FROM AN ASPIRING HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Congratulations to both – the outgoing and incoming ministers of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. To the outgoing minister, well done on your great work and tireless efforts in driving economic growth and promoting investment opportunities in Nigeria. Despite the global economic challenges, under your guidance, the Ministry of Trade and Investment has recorded significant achievements including:
- The drafting and validation of the first Nigeria Investment Policy (NinP);
- The launch of the Zero-oil plan – Nigeria’s blueprint for non-oil export, which is expected to deliver 5-year cumulative earnings of $150billion and lift 20 million citizens out of poverty; we have also started seeing the impact of the N50bn Export Expansion Fund Program;
- Over 12 percent compounded annual growth rate was recorded in the value of exports. Nigeria achieved $1.4 billion in non-oil export earnings in Q4 2022 and $4.8 billion in full-year 2022
- The re-enactment of the Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which now provides a robust framework for reforming identified drawbacks, reduction in the time and cost of registering businesses, and providing data to improve investments which caused significant growth in FDI over the last four years.
- Development of the National Economic Sustainability Plan following the COVID-19 pandemic, which had the MSME survival fund as a key component that provided support for saving about half a million jobs, grants to over 80,000 businesses, support for almost 400,000 artisans and transporters and free registration of businesses for 250,000 companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
All this and many other achievements has contributed to the ongoing improvements to the enabling business environment in Nigeria. Its from these strides we anticipate that that the incoming minister will build on the work of his predecessor.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is a vibrant ministry with a portfolio of opportunities. And as your administration begins to promote and attract more investment into our country, I will like to suggest the following:
- Firstly, building a pipeline of opportunities across various sectors. Especially healthcare, agribusiness, and minerals. These sectors have immense potential for creating jobs, increasing export earnings, and contributing to the overall development of the country
- Investment mapping and investor targeting. These are critical strategies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and promote economic growth in Nigeria. It is crucial to identify countries that have a genuine interest in the investment opportunities available in Nigeria and actively engage with them to foster mutually beneficial partnerships. –
- Working closely with the private sector particularly such providers that support the facilitation of investment and trade into Nigeria. By leveraging the expertise and resources of private sector partners, the ministry can improve trade and investment flows, promote competitiveness, and create employment opportunities for the Nigerian people.
- Another area of interest is advocating for risk mechanisms. Introducing innovative risk-sharing mechanisms such as risk-sharing facilities, insurance products, technical assistance, and capacity building for stakeholders. As well as addressing the inherent risks and uncertainties involved in investment, the Ministry will be able to unlock financing and investment opportunities, thereby promoting increased lending and investment into various sectors of Nigeria.
- Advocating for the privatization of Moribund projects within the states as privatization can inject fresh capital, expertise, and innovation into moribund projects, breathing new life into them and stimulating economic growth.
- Branding and communication: Nigeria suffers from a poor image globally. The Ministry of Trade and Investment in collaboration with the Nigeria Investment and Promotion Council (NIPC), can work together to build the image of Nigeria. This starts from simple things such as developing a comprehensive branding strategy, a professional website and utilizing social media platforms.
- One of the issues complained about is the lack of synchronization among the MDAs and Ministries. The absence of a streamlined system for information sharing and communication among MDAs and Ministries has resulted in overlapping mandates and uncoordinated actions. This has hindered the effective implementation of government policies and programs, leading to suboptimal outcomes and reduced impacts. There is therefore a need for better coordination across all the relevant NDAs and Ministries.
- Industrialization is also another area the incoming minister should look into. Industrialization is crucial for Nigeria. We are a major producer of various commodities but often export them in their raw states. This practice limits the value that can be derived from these commodities and inhibits the growth of the Nigerian economy. To unlock the full potential of these resources, Nigeria needs to invest in processing and manufacturing companies that can add value to its raw materials.
Nigeria is a great country with immense potential for economic growth and development. One of the critical areas of focus is the creation of jobs, especially for our burgeoning youth population. By promoting investment in sectors such as healthcare, agribusiness, energy, minerals, and manufacturing, we can generate employment opportunities and empower youths with meaningful work that contributes to the economic growth of the country. Also, through strategic partnerships and collaborations, we can leverage foreign investors expertise, technology, and capital to set up modern processing and manufacturing facilities. These will not only add value to our raw materials and products but also create jobs, enhance productivity, and increase export-earnings
In conclusion, I once again commend the outgoing minister for his laudable efforts and congratulate the incoming minister on your appointment. We look forward to working closely with you to advance Nigeria’s trade and investment agenda and contribute to the economic prosperity of our great nation.
Bamidele Seun Owoola
Chief Executive Officer