Government seeks linkages to drive value-addition, local processing
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has said that creating a strong linkage between agriculture and industry will aid sustainable growth through job creation, value addition and wealth creation.
Speaking on ‘Consolidating Interface between Industry and Agriculture for Nigeria’s Sustainable Development’, at the opening ceremony of the 40th Kaduna International Trade Fair at the weekend, the Minister outlined the country’s development priorities, stating that the Federal Government has begun implementing several programmes aimed at achieving it economic goals.
He stated that one of the programmes is the Made in Nigeria for Exports programme which seeks to fast-track the development of model export oriented Special Economic Zones across the country to promote export-oriented agro-processing.
Similarly, the Minister stated that there would be rollout of several sector policies to promote investment in processing of agricultural commodities such as oil palm, cassava, tomatoes, sugar, and dairy, amongst others.
Enelamah said that the ERGP Secretariat is pursuing the implementation of 70 new investment projects identified during the recently concluded Manufacturing and Processing Focus Labs.
“These opportunities which were identified in food processing, textiles and garments, general manufacturing, present an avenue to improve the value added to our agricultural output and their scale is a testament to the potentials that exist in our economy”.
He explained that State Governments remain key allies to all businesses and the commitment of State Governments is required for business to stay the course throughout the business lifecycles.
“For instance, we rely on State Governments to provide access to land, act as mediators in conflict prevention and resolution, link local SMEs to the supply chains of processing companies, provide needed infrastructure to link farms to processing plants and markets and overall, provide a conducive environment for businesses and their host communities to thrive. I am glad to say that we have such a partner in the Kaduna State Government.
“We are focused on resolving the challenges which remain in our business environment. Relevant teams across the Government are implementing various initiatives and policies that address key areas of concern such as the need for modern infrastructure, power supply and good road network across the country; improving the patronage of locally made goods; bridging the gap in industrial skills and innovation, ease of doing business, cost and access to finance for SMEs, resolving multiple taxation, amongst others”.
The Minister promised that the federal government will continue to engage KADCCIMA and other Organised Private Sector (OPS) groups in the country on progress made on these initiatives and strategies for catalysing investment and improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-rufai, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Hajia Hadiza Balarabe, said Kaduna State government has made considerable efforts to build a conducive and great climate for businesses, adding that the state is doing its best to build the human capital to support its drive.
He noted that the state government is delighted to have discharged its own part of the investments needed for proper operations of Kaduna inland dry port.
“The dry port is a significant federal government investment in the economic prospects of our state. The port positions Kaduna as a point of origin and destination for the export and import of goods globally. We believe strongly that it is only when economic diversification is encouraged and supported that we will be able to provide critical infrastructure, generate employment, create wealth, reduce poverty and drastically reduce insecurity” he said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, said that the Chamber deliberately choose this theme to compliment the effort of the government towards revamping the economy to drive investments in agriculture and manufacturing, adding that, it highlights the growing interest to strengthen the non-oil sector especially these two key sectors: the industry and agricultural sector.
“Since its assumption of office, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has identified these sectors as crucial and critical to the growth and development of our economy. This is against the low contribution of non-oil sectors to the GDP when compared to the oil sector” she said.