The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to creating an enabling environment that will attract more investment opportunities to the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr.Nasir Sani-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 Clement, in his Office in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary was of the view that the project should not only be narrowed to the 7 Pilot States of the Federation, but should have geographical spread, while emphasis should not only be on the Agricultural sector but other vital sectors of the economy as well.
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’s 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 a segment of the society, 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 Clement explained that WATI Hub which is a programme funded under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was set up in September 2019, with the primary objective of investing about $90m in which $60 million had already been released for investment into the Nigerian economy, to create 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, cow pea,rice and fish farming through co-investment efforts with private sector to earn export revenue for Nigerian products.
He explained that the Trade Hub activities were willing to improve companies abilities to expand business operations, increase productivity as well as create new jobs in Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’ Côte d’Ivoire 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 and with your support, encouragement and the quality of your team you have assembled, “I have no doubt we will be able to do this” Mr. Clement stated.
While assuring the Permanent Secretary that WATIH would look into other sectors of the economy apart from Agriculture to improve the welfare of Nigerians, Mr. Clement informed the Permanent Secretary that the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub will launch its activities in Abuja on the 28th January 2020.