His Excellency the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Director General, the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Emeka Okereke
Royal Fathers here present
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I feel greatly honoured to be here today to felicitate with you on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the 28th Edition of the Enugu International Trade fair.
2. I must commend the organizers of this event and the President and members of the Enugu Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (ECCIMA), for their hard work, diligence and efforts that has made this possible. I salute His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, and the entire people of Enugu. Your hospitality is much appreciated.
3. The choice of the theme “Prompting Nigeria’s Industrial Sector and SMEs’ for an inclusive and Robust Economy” is apt and timely considering the government’s determination to diversify as well as industrialize the country. It is also in line with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Diversification and Growth Plan, which is based on partnering with the private sector. There are three core enablers in our Policy Framework for partnering with the private sector:
• Creating a business-friendly environment – an enabling environment;
• Ensuring coherence between monetary, fiscal and structural reform policies so that the overall economic policies of government are well coordinated and targeted at the common purpose of structural transformation, elimination of distortions and sustained growth; and,
• Provision of hard and soft infrastructure for growth.
4. The theme of partnering with private sector; and, the three core pillars/enablers are being implemented through specific initiatives, programmes and projects and I will mention just three. The first is the Creating an Enabling Environment to Improve the Ease-of-Doing Business: The President Mohammadu Buhari Administration is intent on creating a condusive environment for business. The President therefore, approved the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), of which the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo is Chair and I act as Vice-chair. Some of the reform areas that have been identified include the establishment of a Single Window and simplification of the process for registering businesses, obtaining land titles, expedited clearance of goods from ports, obtaining visas, payment of taxes, etc. We are making headway gradually on these fronts.
5. The second is the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as we may or may not be aware, broadens the scope and accelerates the growth of the manufacturing industry. In order to accelerate diversification and channel resources to sectors where we have a comparative advantage, the NIRP prioritizes agro-allied businesses, cotton, textile and garments, light manufacturing, petrochemicals and automobile assembly and production, based on the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP). Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Industrial Parks are critical to the successful implementation of the NIRP. The NIRP is also being promoted by the “Made-in-Nigeria and buy- Nigeria” project.
6. Thirdly, MSMEs’ have critical role to play in the economy. As such, we have prioritized them to enable job creation. MSMEs will contribute enormously to the acceleration of domestic economic activity, innovation and wealth creation. In partnership with NEDEP, SMEDAN and State Governments, we have to intensify implementation so as to provide support for MSMEs in various ways.
7. The Government in a bid to develop and promote the activities of MSMEs’ has expanded the number of the participating agencies in the Nigerian Enterprises Development programme (NEDEP) to include Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This is a pragmatic effort to tackle challenges faced by MSMEs. The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has put in place a steering Committee to develop a road map and policy for the implementation of the MSMEs’ policy framework.
9. This Government recognizes the important role of trade and investment as potent tools for achieving sustainable economic growth. That is why the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is doing everything possible to attract investment into Nigeria as well as modernizing our trade agreements and setting up a trade infrastructure. The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) has a new Executive Secretary who is working hard to turn around the institution. The One-Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) is one of the avenues through which, the NIPC intends to foster both domestic and international investment
10. An International Trade Fair of this nature should serve as a veritable platform to drive trade and investment. The successes recorded at the fair will certainly contribute to our overall objective as a government.
11. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment’s vision of boosting production, increasing exports and reducing imports and promoting Made-in-Nigeria products is aimed at creating wealth for our people and lifting millions out of poverty. This vision can only be achieved with the cooperation and support of the Private Sector. I wish to pledge government’s support to our entrepreneurs in Enugu State who are engaged in the production of goods and services both for local consumption and for export. Their activities help to create employment, generate wealth and strengthen the economy of the state. Most importantly, government is willing to work with the private sector
12. The existence of regulatory and Trade and Investment promotion Agencies like the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) etc are not only to boost the industrial capacity of Nigeria, but to make us more competitive in the global market.
13. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, I wish to call on captains of Industry and entrepreneurs present at this fair to see this occasion as an opportunity to exchange ideas, information and technical know-how with a view to growing the real sector of our economy. Ultimately, I hope that it will be a productive gathering for all
14. It is my honour and privilege to welcome you to the 28th Enugu International Trade Fair open. I hereby declare the fair open
15. Thank you and God bless.