By James Emejo
Amid the current revenue constraints occasioned by the falling price of oil, the federal and state governments have forged a partnership to enhance their drive for foreign investments as well as boost internally generated revenue (IGR).
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, said it had become particularly expedient for each state in the federation to come up with investment promotion strategies that will attract investment, boost internally generated revenue and help small businesses to be competitive.
Speaking at the opening of a two- workshop on the federal – state strategy for attracting investment for rural development in Nigeria, held in Abuja, recently, the minister stressed that at a time when the continent had decided to pull down some economic borders and become one large market, individual African countries needed to be more strategic and deliberate in their economic policies.
Specifically, he noted that Nigeria’s population makes it attractive globally, adding that the country remains a target of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement which would become effective from July 1.
He said: “Our neighbours are attracting investors, with the promise that they can produce in their countries and sell in Nigeria and they are offering diverse kinds of incentives to make that happen.
“To prevent Nigeria from becoming the dumping ground for goods and services produced in our sister African states, Nigeria has to be very deliberate and strategic henceforth, in her investment promotion and facilitation amongst others.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Adebayo said evolving an effective strategy going forward will pave the way for made in Nigeria exports and sustain the country’s comparative advantage.
He said both levels of government could go a long way in achieving great success by working together rather than in silos.
He added: “At this point in time, the decision of whether to continue to go alone and attract investments in trickles, or go together and attract the quantum of investment we truly deserve as the great nation we are, lies with those of us in this room today. So, let’s make the difference for ourselves today and our children tomorrow. Let us roll our sleeves and go together.”
However, the Director, Investment Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Olukemi Arodudu said it was high time country decided its own fate by determining areas of comparative advantages, laying emphasis on them, and directing the incoming foreign direct investments to such areas for the good of our people.
According to her: “If we are to reap maximum benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement we must tackle the myriad of challenges confronting us, in the areas of poverty, food security, threats to security of lives and property, unemployment and infrastructural decay amongst others, which has not only become compulsory, but also urgent.”