The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to reduce cost and time of doing business in the country.
Aganga said this at the opening ceremony of the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) Agricultural Growth Corridor Investment Summit in Abuja, organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“For the first time in the country’s 53-year history, the power sector has been completely privatised. And as you are aware, we already have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for another 10,000 megawatts of power plant.”
The LAKAJI initiative, USAID’s new activity, hopes to build on the U.S. previous support to improve trade efficiency in Nigeria. It also hopes to support trade facilitation, transport and agribusiness investment intervention and is being implemented through the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport (NEXTT) activity.
The initiative prioritises work along the LAKAJI corridor, which is a major overland cargo transport route in the country. According to Aganga, the initiative is a key intervention that can affect the Nigerian economy positively.
He urged investors to invest in the LAKAJI corridor, saying that it cut across 10 states of the federation. The minister observed that the summit would bring about growth in agriculture partnership and also fast track development in the sector.
He said that the success of the initiative was important as it meant more jobs for youths and development of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.
Earlier, Amb. Martin Brennan of the U.S. explained that the summit would highlight the importance of agriculture as an opportunity for long-term investment in a competitive and growing sector.
He said that agriculture growth was increasingly being seen as the way to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
“In Nigeria, the agricultural sector is the single greatest creator of jobs, providing employment for 70 percent of the population,” Brennan said.
He said that Nigeria had the potential to grow, process, and package foods. He reiterated U.S. President, Barack Obama’s pledge for a new focus on investment in Africa and the need for his country to engage more with the continent. In his remarks, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger explained that the summit was instructive to the state’s renewed determination to strengthen its economic base.
Represented by his deputy, Mr Musa Ibeto, he said that as a hub in the corridor, the state had a major role in the project implementation because of its greater advantage in land mass. Also, the Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State stressed that the agricultural potential of the state was grossly under utilised.
He commended USAID for establishing the LAKAJI investment corridor, adding that the state’s agriculture would benefit from the investment.