The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, has solicited Foreign Direct Investment in the development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) across the country.
In his address at the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) virtual lecture on Friday, Adebayo urged Nigerians to take advantage of the investment opportunities in SEZ to help put the nation’s economy in good shape.
He said that the economic zones were located in Lekki, Enyimba, Funtua, Ibom, Calabar, Bauchi, Kwara, Kano, Benue, Gombe and Ekiti.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister listed other investment opportunities in the country as the cotton, textiles and garment industry, among others.
He also spoke of a backward integration programme to expand the local production of sugar, cassava and oil palm processing.
Besides, Adebayo said that there were investment opportunities in the automotive industry, as the country is seeking to catalyse the local assembly of at least 400,000 vehicles per annum.
He said that several investment opportunities also existed in the area of agro-processing.
“This is a major lever for promoting wealth creation for a majority of our workforce who are farmers.
“This ministry has accelerated plans to establish at least one agro-processing zone in each senatorial district in Nigeria,” he said.
Adebayo noted the impact of COVID-19 on economic activities across the world, adding that for Nigeria, the pandemic also came on the heels of the collapse of international oil prices.
He said that these developments further hampered the economic situation of the country.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said that it led to a significant disruption in the supply chain, production and trade activities, as factories and plants were forced to close.
“Commercial activities and movement of goods and services within the country were severely constrained; culminating in job losses and downsizing by various businesses; which may affect their investments and encourage capital flight, if not addressed critically.
“Also, this impact has been significantly felt across various sectors such as the agribusiness, healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, tourism and hospitality, transportation and retail sectors, among others.
“Of course, individuals, households, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and large corporations have not been spared from the effect of the coronavirus crisis.” he said.
Adebayo, however, said that the Federal Government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), launched Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), in efforts to actualise a holistic economic recovery in March 2020 after the dampening effects of COVID-19.
He said that the ESP was aimed at stimulating economic growth and minimising cases of business failures, job losses and increased poverty.
According to him, the government recognizes FDI, especially inflows from Diaspora Nigerians, as a key driver in achieving the recovery growth plan.
“This, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, is because Nigeria hit 17.57 billion dollars in direct remittance inflows from overseas in 2019; hence, we are looking to leverage this summit to encourage more capital inflow, as we affirm our commitment to improving ease of doing business.
“The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) is implementing a strategic work plan. aimed at improving the business environment and attaining a Doing Business Ranking of Top 90 by 2021, Top 80 by 2022 and Top 70 by 2023.
“We have also commenced the implementation of the Fifth National Action Plan (NAP 5.0). NAP 5.0 is a 60-day window for the implementation of business climate reforms by Kano and Lagos States, as well as ministries, departments and agencies.
“This includes the recently enacted Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA),” he added.
The lecture has “Post-COVID-19 Economic Resurgence: Targeting Diaspora Investment” as its theme.