The Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga has pointed out that Nigeria made N428bn from non-oil export in the last one year
This feat, he said, was achieved through proactive trade policies and incentives for non-oil exports introduced by the Ministry of Trade and Investment, adding that Nigeria had achieved a relatively high level of international penetration currently.
He spoke at the Ministerial Platform organised by the Ministry of Information to mark the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s one year in office.
Aganga said, “In 2011, Nigeria exported non-oil products to 103 countries and territories out of 220. This shows significant improvement over the previous years. There has been an increase in non-oil export to $2.765bn (N428bn at N155/$), representing an increase of 19 per cent.
“The Export Expansion Grant is critical to the growth of the Nigerian export market. We have had wide consultations across all industry groups within the value chain of each commodity. New guidelines on EEG is expected shortly.”
The minister also disclosed that actual investments in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones currently stood at $11.1bn , adding that 35,120 new jobs had been created in the zones.
Giving the breakdown of the investment inflows into the FTZs, the minister stated that the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, in Rivers State, had attracted investment worth $6billion, noting that investment commitments in the FTZ were worth $6.7bn in the last one year.
He added that other Free Trade Zones across the country under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority also generated $4.4bn investment in the last one year, noting, however, that the Ministry of Trade and Investment was currently reviewing the operations of the Free Trade Zones to make them more functional.
Overall, Aganga said that Nigeria had secured over N6.6trillion investment commitment over the last one year.
“The breakdown of the total investment commitment showed that expected FDI into the country stood at N3.9 billion, while investment commitment from local investors stood at N2.7trillion,” he stated.
Aganga also said that the ministry had held over 70 meetings in over 12 countries, resulting in the renewed investment interest in Nigeria.
He said “As a result of the on-going reforms and aggressive investment drive by the Ministry of Trade and Investment, investment commitments of over N6.6trillion over the next three years have been generated. To attract investment in these key sectors, the ministry has made trade and investment missions to key partner countries to develop interest in the Nigerian market, accompanied by Nigerian business leaders.
“As part of efforts to boost the country’s investment drive, we established the Australia Nigeria Trade and Investment Council in October 2011, while the Qatar Nigeria Trade and Investment Council will be inaugurated by next month. Similarly, discussions have reached advanced stages with China, Brazil and Austria for the establishment of such important councils.”
A very important achievement, according to the minister, is that in the last one year, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria had been able to reduce the volume of sub-standard products from 85 to 74 per cent, with a target of 30 per cent reduction by the end of this year.
He said notable improvement were recorded with life-endangering products, saying that the volume of substandard electric bulbs had been reduced from 80 per cent to 50 per cent; reinforced steel bar (45 per cent to 30 per cent); while the volume of substandard tyres reduced from 60 per cent to 50 per cent.
He also noted that, as part of efforts to improve the country’s business environment and make it the preferred investment hub, the ministry had strengthened its One Stop Investment Centre and streamlined investment procedures to remove bottlenecks in business registration, incorporation and granting of permits and licences, among other things.
He said, “We have commenced the Nigeria Investment Climate Reform Programme, partnering with the World Bank and DFID. Also, we have inaugurated the Investor Care Committee and Doing Business and Competitiveness Committee as part of our investment climate reform programme.
“We are closer to the 24-hour target for registering new businesses. Our target is to achieve significant improvement in Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business ranking by a minimum 103 points by 2015 and improve on Nigeria’s Global Competitiveness ranking by 75 points by 2015.”