The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to create an enabling environment that would attract more investment opportunitiesinto the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment,Dr.NasirSani-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 Clementsin his Office in Abuja.
Dr. Gwarzoassured 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 was of the view that the project should not only be narrowed to the7 pilot states of the Federation, but there shouldbe a geographical spread while emphasis should not only be on Agriculture sector but othervitalsectors of the economy should be included.
Dr. Gwarzo who expressed confidence having worked with the United States government from 2006- 2011 said “l know what the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) can do to add value in Nigeria by supporting President Muhammadu Buhari Agenda of lifting 100 million people out of poverty through jobs creation in the country.
He maintained 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 thesociety, 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 Clementsexplained that WATI Hub which is a programme funded under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was setup in September 2019 with the primary objective of investing about $90m in which $60 millionhad 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% was reserved solely for women to invest in waste management industry.
He further 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 with the objective of earning 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 and 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 than any other Country in the Continent andwith your support, encouragement and the quality of your team you have assembled,“I have no doubt we will be able to do this” Mr. Clements stated.
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 informed the Permanent Secretary that the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub will launch its activities in Abuja on the 28th January, 2020.