Government unfolds new investment promotion agenda
To improve ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking
The Federal Government has unveiled plans to pursue a new initiative that would bring Nigeria from 189th to less than 100th position in the ranking of business-friendly economies by 2019.
The Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry, Okechukwu Enelamah, who disclosed this at a forum organised by Deloitte Nigeria for top company executives in Lagos, said the government is working to ensure that drastic, fast-paced business reforms are initiated simultaneously to improve the business environment and attract foreign investors.
Nigeria moved up one place in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in 2015, but still ranks 36 out of 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Enelamah said reforms must be adopted within the next 12 months to reflect positively in the 2018 ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report.
The minister pointed out that despite the economic challenges bedevilling the country, the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy remain strong in the mid-term.
“Today, Nigeria is considered a difficult place to do business, but we aspire to be less than 100th position by 2019 in order to ensure we achieve inclusive growth,” he said.
Building on Mr. President’s recent trips outside the country, he disclosed that the administration is implementing strategic partnership framework with countries to boost bilateral trade with such nations like China, United Arab Emirates, China, U.S. and Singapore.
According to him, Nigeria currently underperforms among its regional and global peers but plans to improve progressively into global value chains.
Besides, he noted that the government would use special economic zones and industrial parks to catalyse the implementation of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) with emphasis of infrastructure.
Already, he said the government has set ambitions of providing funds and technical assistance to one million beneficiaries of Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“We want to focus on financing for SMEs. The current environment is a case of ‘a crisis is too important an opportunity to waste’. We want to be known as the ministry of enabling environment, the public and private sector must partner and collaborate to achieve the vision of shared prosperity and inclusive growth,” he said.
The minister reiterated that the government is open and ready for business and investment from all stakeholders within and outside the country.
Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Nigeria and Regional Leader for Deloitte West Africa, Fatai Folarin, expressed the firm’s commitment to making a difference with technology to reduce the stress of doing business in the country.
“Our purpose and focus on quality is unshaken. Though organisations face challenges but we have overcome that through efficiency on quality. In terms of delivery, we want to be a choice clients prefer, these key trends will continue to be harnessed for clients across the West African region.
“All our strategies are solely for clients to enable go about with their business with ease. We would be partnering with clients henceforth to create integration as part of our mission policy.
“Moving forward we have concluded to rebrand our identity as a global brand with a new logo to be unveiled within the next few weeks. As part of efforts to expand our scope of business thereby moving close to our clients, we would be relocating to our new facilities on June 27,” he said.
He pointed out that the Nigerian economy is on a tumultuous journey that has not been experienced in decades. “As leaders in our various organisations, we all share a collective responsibility of engaging with each other to seek innovative ideas on reviving the economy through trade and investment.”