The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to create an enabling environment that would attract more investment opportunities into the country.
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo gave the assurance when playing host to a delegation from the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) led by the director-general, Mr Michael Clements in his Office in Abuja.
Dr Gwarzo assured the delegation of the Government’s commitment to create an enabling environment for them to expand their horizons in order to accommodate other sectors of the economy.
The permanent secretary who suggested that the project should not only be limited to the seven pilot states of the federation, noted that there should be a geographical spread while emphasis should not only be on Agriculture sector but other vital sectors of the economy as well.
Dr Gwarzo said, “l know what the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) can do to add value in Nigeria by supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of lifting 100 million people out of poverty through job creation in the country.”
He said that his Ministry will do everything possible to support West Africa Trade and Investment Hub to succeed in Nigeria, stressing that, “The country needs to be moved forward as a whole. Once you leave segment of the society, sector or any population, you will still come back to the same problem because we keep having vulnerable people.”
Earlier in his address, the director- general of WATIH, Mr Michael Clements explained that WATI Hub which is a programme funded under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was set up in September 2019 with the primary objective of investing about $90 millon in which $60 million had already been released for investment into the Nigerian economy, with a view to creating 40,000 jobs in the private sector, out of which 50 per cent was reserved solely for women to invest in waste management industry.
He said the Trade and Investment Hub would be working in seven states in Nigeria which included Benue, Cross River, Delta, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Kebbi as well as Niger states to increase production of value chain in maize, coffee, soya bean, cowpea ,rice and fish farming through co- investment efforts with private sector to earn export revenue for Nigerian products.
He explained that the Trade Hub activities was willing to improve companies’ abilities to expand business operations, increase productivity as well as create new jobs in Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’ voire and the Sahel region. He said it would focus on co-investment partnerships that will increase Agricultural productivity and profitability to small scale farmers and promote West Africa‘s regional and International trade.
According to him, “Nigeria represents the biggest economic opportunities in Africa and with your support, encouragement and the quality of your team you have assembled, “I have no doubt we will be able to do this.”
While assuring the permanent secretary that WATIH would look into other sectors of the economy apart from Agriculture with a view to improving the welfare of Nigerians, Mr Clements said that the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub will launch its activities in Abuja on the 28th January, 2020.