Nigeria signed $5bn deals in China – Enelamah - DAILY TRUST
Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, in this piece said Nigeria signed $5 billion worth of deals in her recent outing to China. He also spoke on the economic implications of recent visits by leaders of some foreign countries; industrialisation, trade, MSMEs and access to finance. Excerpts:
On trade with China, United Kingdom, others In the last two weeks Nigeria, hosted delegations from the United Kingdom, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, which was exploring more opportunities for trade for post-Brexit Britain, and from Germany led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. We also attended the Forum for China Africa Corporation (FOCAC) Summit in China, during which bilateral talks were held with Chinese delegates. By the visits, the leaders of those nations demonstrated belief in the potentials of the Nigerian economy; and endorsement of our efforts in growing the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians. Nigeria and the United Kingdom signed ‘The UK-Nigeria Economic Development Forum’ to establish the ‘Joint High-Level Forum on Economic Development’.
The forum provides a platform for the UK and Nigeria to deepen their bilateral economic development partnerships; strengthen bilateral discussions on growth, investment and jobs; and where high level trade, investment, economic development and discussions will take place. In all, more than $10 billion agreements were signed. Others, still under discussion are being quantified. Recent MoUs signed by Nigeria Some of the MoUs signed by Nigeria include that between the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the German-Africa Business Association.
Deputy national president of NACCIMA, Saratu Abubakar, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while Stefan Liebing of German Africa Business Association, signed on behalf of the German business delegation, agreement between the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and PETKUS Technologie GmbH, a company that specializes in post-harvest agricultural value chain which was signed by Aliyu Abdulhameed and a representative of PETKUS Technologie GmbH, Peter Huser. The MoU between Nigeria and Volkswagen was signed by Dr. Enelamah on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, and Mr. Thomas Schaefer, Head of Volkswagen sub-Saharan operations for the establishment of an automotive hub in Nigeria. Of the total of 13 MOUs signed by Nigeria with China, key among them was that by the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment with Shandong Ruyi International Fashion Industry for $2 billion for a first-ever cotton value chain industry – that is from cotton growing to ginning, spinning, textile manufacture and garment in Katsina, Kano, Abia and Lagos states. Domestic trade Deliberate efforts are on-going to integrate into various regional and global value chains; and increase the amount of local value addition.
Some of the achievements to date include trade remedy mechanism for the rules-based safeguard and protection of the Nigerian economy and industry being finalized; and a nation-wide call for inputs on a 21st Century Trade Policy for Nigeria. Industrialisation We have stepped up and are aggressively implementing the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) by the establishment of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council), comprised of government and private sector representatives at the highest level.
Emphasis on small enterprises The Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises contribute almost half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There has been sustained work to build capacity, increase access to finance and eliminating bottlenecks to conducting businesses. The World Bank funded Growth and Employment (GEM) project is focused on businesses in information, communication and technology (ICT), agro-processing, entertainment, tourism and construction.
The GEM project became effective in 2013. It was designed to help spur massive job creation and economic development in Nigeria. At the end of 2016, the World Bank rated the GEM project “unsatisfactory and underperforming” and considered scrapping it. Working together with the World Bank, we reviewed and restructured the project to ensure that its funding, technical assistance and capacity building programmes are deployed “directly” to SMEs. We expect some of these businesses to grow and become national and international champions and to create lots of jobs.
Graduate Employment project Over 89,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) registered on the BIG portal; over 900 Nigerian MSMEs have benefited from grants to implement their business plans; at least 40 local consulting firms trained to deliver technical services to MSMEs; over 750 Nigerian MSMEs have benefited from the services of the project’s trained Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) and over 21,000 MSMEs have received technical assistance including training offered by Lagos Business School. Also, 400 graduates were trained in video and sound editing under a support to the entertainment industry, and a total of 600 Nigerians were trained in various artisan skills for the construction sector to reduce the influx of foreign skilled labour taking Nigerian jobs. It is imperative to add that the project has so far catalysed the creation of over 26,000 jobs in the five sectors of its focus.