By Miriam Humbe
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo has said that the federal government is commitment to create an enabling environment that would attract more investment opportunities into the country.
Gwarzo gave the assurance when a delegation from the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) led by the Director-General, Mr. Michael Clements visited him in his office in Abuja.
He assured the delegation of government’s commitment to create an enabling environment for them to expand their horizons in order to accommodate other sectors of the economy.
The Permanent Secretary opined that the project should not only be narrowed to the 7 pilot states of the federation, but there should be a geographical spread while emphasis should not only be on the agricultural sector but other vital sectors of the economy should be included.
Dr. Gwarzo who had 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 assured 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”.
The Director- General of WATIH, Mr. Michael Clements earlier explained that WATI Hub, 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, with a view to creating 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 including: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Niger States to increase production of value chain in maize, coffee, soya bean, cowpea, rice and fish farming through co- investment efforts with private sector aimed at earning export revenue for Nigerian products.
“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. Clements stated.
While assuring the Permanent Secretary that WATIH would look into other sectors of the economy apart from Agriculture with a view to improving the welfare of Nigerians, Mr. Clements informed the Permanent Secretary that the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub will launch its activities in Abuja on the 28th January, 2020.