By Linda Ike
The Federal Government said Nigeria is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum stated this in her keynote address at the Maiden Conference of Nigeria-Egypt Trade Conference and Exhibition in
Cairo ,Egypt, with the theme “For Africa – By Africa”.
She said,.”As you are aware Nigeria is a country blessed with huge natural and mineral resources in commercial quantities, favourable climate conditions and high potentials for industrial development. We are one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa today”.
Amb. Katagum noted that Nigeria is the largest African country by population and size of the economy which the global consulting firm-PwC has projected that Nigeria will be among the top economies by 2025.
She explained that “At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government made tremendous efforts towards sustaining MSMEs, which are the engines of economic growth in any economy.
“The MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Schemes which is within the framework of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on 1st July, 2021”.
Amb. Katagum noted that the main task of the N75bn MSMEs Survival Fund was to sustain the livelihood of vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed individuals mostly affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that, in order to cushion the effect of the hardship, ensure sustainable production and minimize job losses, the Federal Government in 2021 approved a N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) as part of its effort to boost non-oil exports thereby increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Amb. Katagum added that.Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) launched the first Export Trade House (ETH) in Egypt on the 21st March, 2022 in Sadat City.
She stated that the choice of Egypt was deliberate, as Egypt is the gateway to North Africa and to boost the trade relations between Nigeria and Egypt.
She said through the ETH, the visibility of Made in Nigeria products and Nigeria’s market share in Egypt and North African Countries will be enhanced.
“The Nigerian Egyptian Cultural, Social and Economic Forum was launched here in Cairo. In addition, the Ministry also participated actively at the Intra-Africa Trade Fair held in Durban, South Africa in November 2021. All these are meant to expose Made-in-Nigeria products in the international market” she stated.
Amb. Katagum noted that the Ministry is actively involved in the implementation of the National Quality Policy (NQP) which is meant to guide Nigeria as a country to build a sustainable quality infrastructure in order to make Nigeria products competitive in both the domestic and international market.
She explained that Commerce 44 is an Export Strategy designed to develop and promote the export of Agricultural Commodities, Manufactured Products and Solid Mineral Products with high export potentials, which will translate to an increase in job creation, income and wealth creation, revenue generation, poverty reduction, increase in volume of export for processed products, improved market access through enhancement of quality and packaging of the identified products to target countries/regions of the world.
“In February 2022, the Ministry moved into the next phase of revitalizing and expanding the scope of Commerce 44 to Commerce 160 to accommodate 40 more Agric Commodities, Solid Minerals and Manufactured products to expand the Export frontier due to new and emerging markets
On 21st March, 2022, a Technical Committee on the development of a Road-map and Operational framework for Halal certification in Nigeria was inaugurated.
“This is aimed at increasing the patronage and consumption of products coming from Nigeria, not only by Muslims but also non-Muslims with selective lifestyles. And halal global market is estimated to be about US $2.6 trillion, and Nigeria is fully committed and ready to take advantage of that” she stated.
The Minister maintained that Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is passionate about facilitating the growth of investments in the e-commerce value-chain, capable of contributing significantly to the Country’s GDP, adding that, the sector grew from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020.
She said the current e-commerce spending in Nigeria, is estimated at about $13 billion per annum and is projected to rise to about $75 billion in revenue generation per annum by 2025.
“The market outlook for Nigeria’s e-commerce, shows that the number of online shoppers in the country, which was at 76.7 million in 2021, is expected to hit 122.5 million by 2025. This figure by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) also shows that Nigeria’s e-payment transactions increased by 85.5% year on year, to N171.99 trillion in August 2021” Katagum disclosed.
She said Nigeria is open to deepen collaboration with Egypt and other friendly nations, stressing that, Nigeria is strategically located, with easy access to other countries within the West African region and with the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),
“Nigeria and indeed the continent is better positioned for broader economic integration, trade enhancement, attraction of foreign investments, wealth and employment generation, poverty reduction, and improved shared prosperity for our people.
“Nigeria is home to multitude of investment and trade opportunities and the Nigerian Government acknowledged the needs of foreign investors, and therefore has a good number of investment-friendly incentives for investors, in various sectors of the economy.
“The Compendium of Investment Incentives in the various sectors of Nigerian economy is available on the website of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) (www.nipc.gov.ng)”, she explained .
According to. Katagum, the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, in 2021 disclosed that Nigerian Exports to Egypt amounted to US$2.96 million, while in sharp contrast, Egyptian Exports to Nigeria was US$138.4 million”.
The Assistant Director Information of the Ministry, Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa stated that the Minister expressed optimism that the event would help stimulate a more favourable balance of trade between both nations and the two countries would leverage on this Conference as a catalyst to strengthen and develop Nigeria- Egypt collaboration, trade and investments in strategic sectors.