By Abba-Eku Onyekachukwu Abuja
Minister, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Dr Okechukwu Enelemah has informed that Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) has identified and agreed as priority, implementation of initiatives across five core areas and enablers over next 12 months.
This according to the minister includes installation of 18,000km of fibre optic to improve broad band penetration and strategic power projects totaling 4.2GW of electricity. .
Speaking to journalists at a press briefing in the Ministry yesterday, the Minister further informed that the Council also set up five sub-committees with five focus areas identified as necessary to fulfill its objectives including: Critical Infrastructure; Skills and Capacity; Trade and Market Access; Policy and Regulation; and Financing.
In its meeting chaired by Vice President Yomi Osinbajo Monday 30 October 2017 which was chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, the Industrial Council also agreed to: Commence implementation of the recently approved Road Trust Scheme to accelerate construction of national priority roads across the country; Implement an Apprenticeship Program to bridge the gap between industrial skills requirement and supply from educational institutions and; accelerate the implementation of Nigerian Trade Remedy, Economic Safeguard and Anti-Dumping mechanism.
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March 2017 established the Industrial Council to implement initiatives aimed at accelerating industrialization using private sector expertise and capital.
The primary objective of the Industrial Council is to assist the Government in formulating policies and strategies that would enhance the performance of a sector or industry in furtherance of the Industrialisation program. The Council is therefore chaired by the vice president while the Minister deputizes him. Other members are Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is also vice chair; the minister of state, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar and Atedo Peterside are alternate vice chairs.
Enelemah showed highl level of delight over the recent World Bank improved ranking of Nigeria on the its Ease of Doing Business Report, even he said that they were already rolling out the next 60-day action plan that would see Nigeria embark on new reform areas and institutionalize the ones currently being enforced, just as he also touched on the upcoming D-8 Ministerial Meeting focusing on Industrial Cooperation from November 14th-16th in Abuja, which, according to him will be hosted by the Ministry and opened by Vice president. The D-8 countries, according to him are Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey. He informed that the main objective of the group is to promote socio-economic development of member countries in the priority Industrial and Economic cooperation between member state with regard to Trade; Agriculture and Food security; Industrial Cooperation and SME; Transportation; Energy and Minerals as well as Tourism.
He however added that the Ministry was the focal point Ministry in charge of Trade and Industrial Cooperation in the six areas of Economic Cooperation. He further said that the key role of the ministry was to coordinate and promote the countries’ Industrial,
Trade and Investment policies for the overall sustainable development of its citizens. As the coordinating Ministry for Investment, Trade and Industrial Cooperation, the Ministry, according to him would ensure participation of relevant MDAs and the business community.