FG Supporting State Govts To Host Investment Summits-Minister

Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum

Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji  Katagum has said that more States in the country are encouraged and supported to organise investment summits in order to mobilise the investing public to consider Nigeria as a preferred destination.

A statement signed by Comfort Eleojo Unane, Senior Information Officer on behalf of the Assistant Director Information in the Ministry said the Minister said this at the 2021 Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Annual Conference.

TheFact Nigeria learned that the Minister also said that the Federal Government was committed to improving access to finance for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

The conference which took place in Abuja was themed: “The Role of Nigeria’s MSMEs, Export, Commodities, Trade & Investment in stabilising the Post Covid-19 Economy: Issues & Challenges”.

The Minister who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event said: “The Federal Government has, overtime, created platforms to improve access to finance for MSMEs in order to boost production, increase the value of trade, enhance the investment climate, foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

“This is in addition to the deliberate and pragmatic policies geared towards supporting and sustaining small businesses in the country, thereby equipping entrepreneurs to compete globally, especially under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA)”

Amb.Katagum also said that in a bid to guarantee continuity in support of MSMEs in the country, the Federal Government harnessed the prime policies of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) into the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), in order to sustainably create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

These policies were aimed at boosting productivity levels of businesses in the country, thereby accelerating the growth of the domestic market and creating profitable connections to regional, continental and global markets.

The Minister revealed that at the last  Presidential Retreat for members of the Federal Executive  Council, President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the importance of MSMEs as engine of economic growth and pledged that government would  do everything possible to support MSMEs, including removing all bottlenecks to MSME’s access to finance.

She pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari recently inaugurated the National Council on Monitoring and Evaluation of Executive Order 005 on local content which will, among others, be a game changer for MSMEs.

Amb.Katagum also stated other pro-MSME interventions by government, such as the recent approval of the revised National Policy on MSMEs, the planned floating of an MSME Micro Finance Bank by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and government’s emphasis on single digit interest credit facility for MSMEs.

Katagum attested to the steadfastness of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, saying that, the Ministry would continue to proactively engage Commodities Associations with a view to ensuring that challenges mitigating against their operations were tackled, especially now that the country is gradually exiting the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “And in the same vein, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment is expanding its network of collaboration with the State Governments to provide the needed platform for attracting investments.

“In this regard, more States are encouraged and supported to organise investment summits in order to mobilise the investing public to consider Nigeria as a preferred destination.

“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, as part of its priority areas has concluded arrangements to facilitate the development of at least one Agro-processing zone in each senatorial district of the Federation.

“In that respect, under the 2021/2022 budget, the Ministry will roll out the development of Agro-Processing in each geopolitical zone under the first phase of the scheme”.

The Minister also said that the present administration was strategically repositioning the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) landscape towards achieving its full potentials with a view to contributing more to the economy.

The Minister appreciated the wide coverage of the Press and urged all members of CICAN and the entire Press to continue in providing  the much-needed publicity for all government programmes, projects and policies.

The Conference featured the formal unveiling of the Special Independence Edition of CICAN  Industry Tracker Magazine by the Minister.

Other dignitaries in attendance were the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters and Secretary of the National Action  Committee on AfCFTA,  Mr. Francis Anatogu;  Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council,  Mr. Jelani Aliyu; representatives of Heads of Agencies of the Ministry; Ministry’s officials; Resource persons;  members  of CICAN and other stakeholders.

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