The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Trade and Investment, Mrs Jumoke Oduwole, has explained how Buhari-led administration played a huge role in saving the nation’s business index.
Oduwole, on Monday, was as a guest on Channels Television’s Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily.
She said the presidency, using a systemic approach made Nigeria’s economy competitive, thereby booking the global ranking of the nation’s economy.
“This administration has had a systemic approach to making this economy competitive. We have been 145 before, we started from 106 then last decade we went on a free fall consistently going backwards.
“When this administration came in 2015, we started immediately on this project and we were able to stem the tide. The first thing was that we stopped going backward, then we had a systemic approach chaired by the presidency,” she said.
Oduwole said further that the strategic plan initiated by the Federal Government upon assuming office in 2015 led to the improvement in the country’s global business index.
She explained that this involves a collaboration of some ministers, some lawmakers, the Head of Civil Service and the private sector.
“And that political will with coordination of over 10 ministers, Central Bank Governor, Head of Civil Service and then later, high-level National Assembly representation, Lagos and Kano states and of course private sector,” she added.
Recalling that Nigeria was judged the top 10 economies in the world on the ease of doing business last year, she, however, attributed the feat to the sincerity and commitment shown by the presidency.
According to her, statistics show an improvement of the country’s ranking 24 positions up as against the previous position of 169 to 145 is an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari is sincere with the economic recovery.
The House of Representatives has ordered its Joint Committee on Delegated Legislation and Public Accounts to carry out a public hearing on the activities of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria.
The F.R.C. had introduced the Corporate Governance Code which led to the stepping aside of General Overseer of the Redeemed Christians Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
The new regulation pegged the leadership tenure for religious leaders at 20 years.
The House took the decisions after considering a motion sponsored by Minority Leader, Representative Leo Ogor, who described the Council’s action as unconstitutional.
Representative Ogor accused the Council of usurping the powers of the National Assembly, wondering where the Council derived its powers as encapsulated in the Code of Corporate Governance for the bodies, without the approval of the Legislature.
The House at its plenary asked the Council to suspend the code while the panel investigating its activities is expected to submit a report within four weeks.
The President consequently appointed Mr Daniel Asapokhai as the new Executive Secretary and Mr Adedotun Sulaiman as the new chairman of the council.
President has also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, to invite the 19 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of board of their councils.
The Nigerian government has suspended the law that forced Pastor Enoch Adeboye to step down as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria.
According to a statement signed by the media aide to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Constance Ikokwu, the law has been suspended in order to review it.
The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria under Mr Jim Obazee, had directed not-for-profit organisations, including churches and mosques to comply with a corporate governance code stipulating a term of 20 years for heads of such entities.
The statement quoted the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah saying that the government remains committed to restoring and enhancing market confidence and improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate removal of the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRN), Mr. Jim Obazee, as well as the reconstitution of its board.
The President consequently appointed Mr Adedotun Sulaiman as the new chairman of the council.
Mr Sulaiman is a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture.
He is a chartered accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.
President Buhari has also approved the appointment of Mr Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary.
Mr Asopokhai is a partner and a financial reporting specialist at the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Nigeria.
He is also a product of the University of Lagos and the University of Pretoria.
The President has also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, to invite the 19 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of board of their councils.
The directive was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu.
The government of Anambra State has handed over 80 hectares of land to the Federal Government for the development of an Automotive Industrial Park.
The Governor of the State, Mr Willie Obiano, gave the Certificate of Occupancy of the parcels of land within three communities in Nnewi South and Aguata – Akwaihedi, Unubi and Uga – to the Federal Government.
Handing over the document to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelama, Governor Obiano demanded for a speedy development of the park within a period of 18 months.
He says failure to complete the park within the stipulated time would mean forfeiture of the land.
Governor Obiano said his decision to add a caveat was due to the ugly experience the previous administrations had with the Federal Government in allocating land to them that has remained unutilised till date.
“This is a very important ceremony. We are handing over 80 hectares of land to the Federal Government to develop the Automotive Industrial Park.
“It took us a while to arrive at this decision purely because we have not had good experience with previous Federal Governments in giving them land.
“Anambra state is the smallest state in Nigeria today because of erosion and therefore, we are very careful about giving lands.
“This land we are giving is half of what the Federal Government requested for because we said no, let us try with this, but if you do well we will give you another one. Because there is a land at Amansea, we gave that land to the Federal Government 21 years ago and nothing happened there and we don’t want to be giving lands and nothing happening.
“So my good friend, the Minister, Okey, has reassured me that I will see the difference, that they will fire like no man’s business and that this place will develop very fast. And you know, there will be an industrial park here, there will be ancillary industries that will be creeping up around here. That is what industrial parks attract, ancillary industries,” Governor Obiano stated
The minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, assured the government of Anambra State that the latest partnership would not only be successful but would trigger more investment and rapid industrialisation of Anambra State.
Dr. Enelama told the Governor that the development of an Automotive Industrial Park would crystallise into provision of adequate infrastructure for entrepreneurs, industrialists, and manufacturers from far and beyond that would make Anambra State an investment destination.
“One of the goals I had and still have is to see Anambra industrialise to its fullest potentials and because I know that by doing that we will be industrialising Nigeria.
“In order to do that, there is absolutely no question that you need special economic zone and industrial parks such as the one we are bringing to life today.
And the reason is quite straightforward. That this industrial park will provide the enabling environment for the entrepreneurs, the industrialists, and the manufacturers to do their own work without having to do the work of the government or the work the communities should do for them by providing the basic infrastructure.
“The other reason such a park and such initiative are essential is the importance of partnership.
“So, I believe with all my heart, that what we are going to see is a model industrial park, from the handover ceremony we have done today, to the design, to the implementation, to the operations, I think it will do very well. And I know that this is only the beginning of what is going to be a very successful partnership,” the minister said.
The handing over ceremony took place in Unubi and the project would be handled by the Director General of Automotive Design and Development Council, Dr. Aminu Jalal.
After the Certificate of Occupancy was handed to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, he handed it over to the developer, Dr. Jalal, for immediate takeoff of development.
The occasion was rounded off with the unveiling of the plaque that seals the deal between Anambra State and the Federal Government with high hopes that the project impact on the people of Anambra state when completed.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, is calling for partnership with the private sector towards the full development of skills and talents of Nigerians.
At the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Abuja, Mr Enelamah says Nigeria is at a challenging time which offers the best opportunity to develop the country’s foremost asset; the Nigerian people, their talents, passion and energy.
He says there has been too much focus on the wrong things and no country can progress by valuing what lies within its soil above what lies in its people.
The event was used to brainstorm on how to unlock the potentials and value of the Nigerian people.
The minister told the gathering that Nigeria was facing dire challenges arising from mistaking its most important asset to be its natural resources resulting to gross neglect of its human resources, a trend he said ought to change now.
To tackle the human potential and leadership challenges Nigeria currently faces, the minister suggested a strong collaboration between the private sector and government is inevitable.
As Nigeria intensifies efforts to diversify its economy, reforms and growth of the economy must also go hand in hand with human capital development.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management therefore has a challenge to deploy its wealth of knowledge and experience now more than ever before.
The Nigerian government is seeking collaboration with the private sector to address and harness the nation’s human resources for socio-economic development.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Abuja on Saturday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, explained that the fall in the global price of crude oil had forced the government to look for ways to maximise the nation’s human potentials.
Mr Enelamah added that the government was looking at developing and encouraging vocational skills for young people to address unemployment.
He said: “This challenging times offer what is perhaps our best opportunity in a very long time to effect the kind of change in our thinking and behaviour that will help us realise our nation’s true wealth which of course lies in our people, the talent of our people, their passion and energy and resourcefulness”.
The Minister further pointed out that no serious country could afford to value what lies within its soil more than what lies in its people.
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured potential investors that Nigeria would soon be one of the most attractive places to invest as his administration has embarked on significant economic reforms to realise that goal.
The President gave the assurance to a large gathering of political and business leaders from the United States, Africa and other regions of the world at the Second United States-Africa Business Forum in the New York, on Wednesday, organised by the United States Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The Nigerian leader said that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, would soon come out with wide-ranging business environment reforms on ports, visa-on arrival, improving the speed and efficiency of land titling and business registration.
Investment Destination In Africa
Some fiscal incentives he noted, include, up to five years tax holiday for activities classified as “pioneer”; tax-free operations; no restrictions on expatriate quotas in Free Trade Zones; and a low VAT regime of five per cent.
“We intend to make Nigeria one of the most attractive places to do business,” he declared, even as he noted that Nigeria remained the number one investment destination in Africa.
President Buhari told the gathering that his administration would continue to strengthen government institutions in order to address the concerns of investors and ease investments in the Nigerian economy.
“We are weaning ourselves from a historical dependence on crude oil, diversifying our economy, and putting it on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.
“To this end, we have embarked on policies aimed at establishing an open, rules-based and market-oriented economy.
“We will continue to actively engage with the private sector at the highest levels to listen to your concerns and to assure you of our commitment to creating enabling policies in which your businesses can survive and thrive,” President Buhari said.
He urged participants to “take advantage of this Forum to establish and strengthen business relationships, share valuable experience and collaborate for mutual benefits”.
President Buhari while stressing that enormous potential exists for foreign investment and for the local economy, listed sectors which had barely been exploited to include Nigeria’s 180-million population and abundance of labour; arable land; forest waters; oil and gas; solid minerals; livestock and huge tourist potential.
“These are no doubt challenging times for the Nigerian economy.
“But let me use this opportunity to boldly affirm our conviction that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity.
“In our case, we see Nigeria’s ongoing economic challenges – occasioned mainly by the fall in oil prices – as an opportunity to set the economy firmly on the path of true diversification, sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity,” he stated.
The President said that the reform measures taken by his administration since inception in 2015 had started yielding good fruits especially in the areas of security, anti-corruption and revamping the economy.
He emphasised that the priority investment sectors for his administration now were improving infrastructure, industrial productivity, agriculture, mining and digital economy where “young Nigerians are increasingly demonstrating that they have the talent and the passion to leverage”.
On United States-Nigeria business relations, he announced the commencement of the U.S.-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue with a focus on the infrastructure, agriculture, digital economy, investment and regulatory reform to be jointly led by the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and his U.S. counterpart.
President Buhari said that after this Business Forum, he looked forward to increased trade and investment flows between Nigeria and the United States.
Nigeria has urged the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to focus its future around areas of comparative advantage including trade, investment and technology.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, made the appeal on Wednesday while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded ACP Summit of Heads of States in Papua, New Guinea.
While the ACP Group has done well, “I would like to emphasise the point that the Federal Government of Nigeria supports the view that the ACP should not stretch itself further but rather, focus on areas of comparative advantage”, he said.
Professor Osinbajo listed the three areas which he described as the ‘future pillars’ for the group to include: Trade and Investment, Government Development Cooperation through Technology, as well as Political Dialogue and Advocacy.
Considering the challenges that most countries of the ACP face, he stressed the need to focus on development cooperation and building capacity in trade and investment with science and technology.
Cutting Edge Of Technology In the area of technology, the Vice President while presenting Nigeria’s statement at the summit said efforts should be focused on job creation.
He added that young people should be encouraged to go into areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and education.
Professor Osinbajo emphasised that technology in particular areas such as computer application, programming, lighting and software applications amongst others should be explored to engage young people in ACP countries to ensure that they were in the cutting edge of technology.
Responding to the report on the future of the ACP, which was presented to the summit by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Vice President acknowledged the important suggestions and recommendations in the report and assured the summit of Nigeria’s continued support.
He also promised that Nigeria would continue its active engagement with and in the group while he described the report of the EPG as excellent, saying that it had set the tone for future negotiations.
Vice President Osinbajo described the meeting as ‘a crucial one, endeavouring to re-position the ACP towards 2020 and beyond’, when the strategic relationship between the ACP and the European Union is expected to move to a new level.
The ACP is an organisation formed in 1975 with the Cotonou Agreement, and composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
According to the Vice President, since the creation of the ACP, there had been so many changes and dynamics, necessitating the need to re-strategise.
Regarding the expiration of the agreement in 2020, Professor Osinbajo stated that the countries seemed to have made up their minds to continue to work together beyond 2020, noting that the most important thing is how the ACP would engage with the European Union, as the organisations are vastly different from what they were in 1975.
The Acting Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, says the absence of the agency at the various ports in the country has destroyed the economy, made local industries unattractive and created a lot of unemployment among the youths.
Dr. Angya was speaking to journalists at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, when he paid a visit to Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano.
The visit was ahead of the one-day sensitization seminar organized by SON to enlighten the local population, SMEs, and big industrial holdings and manufacturers on the benefits of application of standards to their production processes and products.
He said that several representations have been made to the federal government through the supervising Ministry of Trade and Investment and through the National Assembly to ensure the return of SON to the ports.
This according to him would help curb the overwhelming importation of sub-standard products into the country.
He said that response has come from the National Assembly through a visitation to the agency’s facilities but hopes were thin on the possibility of immediate reversal of the decision by the federal government due to issues of bureaucracy.
The Federal Government has blamed the poor state of the economy on corruption and the falling price of crude oil.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, expressed the view while speaking at a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).
As the administration marks its first year in office, five federal ministers held a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah were part of the ministerial delegation.
Media executives listened to the ministers as they took time to explain their achievements and challenges over the past one year. The most challenging for the new administration has been the economy.
The Information Minister said that Nigeria was passing through a very a difficult time and that the road to economic prosperity would be rough. He said that if the present administration had not been elected, the country’s economy would have collapsed.
“Our economy, or whatever is left of it after years of serial mismanagement and massive corruption is in a very bad state. Throw into the mix, the huge fall in oil price and you have nothing but a disaster of an economy.
“But this government is aware that it was not elected to make excuses but to put the nation back to work,” he said.
The ministers promised that the administration would focus on tackling insecurity and fighting corruption as these are the major ways of revamping the economy.
They, however, noted that there was a backlog of issues to be sorted out, like the huge debt owed contractors, which the Power Minister explained.
“We must not allow yesterday’s misfortunes to recur again. It starts from the gradual process of failing to do simple maintenance; failing to paint or failing to clean.
“The impact of what we see today clearly didn’t start today. So if we have paid contractors, we clearly won’t have the kinds of roads that we have today.
“My meeting with contractors in Power and in Works over the last 10 days, the common thread is that they haven’t received payment for an average of three years.”
Nevertheless, the minsters reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to embarking on infrastructural development across the country.
The ministers also gave the assurance that the government would fulfil its election campaign promises to Nigerians.
The Kaduna State government has commenced the training of 5,000 youths on entrepreneurship under its ‘Start UP Entrepreneurship Programme’.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the first set of beneficiaries and induction of new ones on Wednesday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that the programme was targeted at training youths to learn skills that would help in transforming their lives.
He challenged the beneficiaries to explore the opportunity given them to become productive in their lives, so as to enhance their economic well-being and become self-reliant.
The Governor described the intervention as very critical and a major component for economic rejuvenation and prosperity of Kaduna State.
In his speech, the acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Waheed Olagunju, disclosed that the BOI and Kaduna State government contributed 500 million Naira each for the training and empowerment, which was executed in partnership with the Kaduna Business School.
He stressed that the programme was organised to support the accelerated development of the state through job creation, urging the beneficiaries to remain committed and responsible, in order to reap the benefit of the training.
In her address, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said that the Federal Government has outlined quite a number of entrepreneurship programmes aimed at diversifying the economy and empowering youths in Nigeria.
She adviced the trainees to take the opportunity seriously in order to advance their lives.
The Kaduna Start UP Entrepreneurship Programme was initiated by the present administration in the state and it is aimed at creating more jobs, reducing poverty and restiveness among the youths.