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.

Ibrahim Haruna

DD Press