The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga has disclosed that there would be reforms and structural changes in the new ministry to ensure the success of the present administration’s transformational economic agenda for Nigeria.
Receiving the ministry’s handing over notes in Abuja, Aganga said himself and the Minister of State, Dr. Samuel Ortom were appointed to transform and refocus the new ministry as the driver of the nation’s economy, and therefore charged the entire staff to work hard for the sustainability of the economic growth and jobs.
To achieve this, the minister said: “This will require a new way of thinking, some reforms and structural changes, finding creative solution to our challenges, a renewed commitment and a determination to succeed. I will of course welcome any ideas and suggestions from you”.
“Our mission is to transform this new and refocused Ministry of Trade and Investment and ensure that it takes its rightful place as the driver of the Nigerian economy”, he said, adding that “in any country, this ministry should be the heart of the economy and in fact, it is the case in many developed and developing economies”.
Aganga, however, emphasized the need for the economy to be private sector-driven due to the enormous opportunities, challenges and the size of the investment required.
“As you are probably aware from the Vision 20:2020 document, the investment required in the next four years is close to N35 trillion. Out of this, about N10 trillion is expected from the Federal Government, N9 trillion from the state governments and N15 trillion from the private sector.
“Given the amount aggregated to capital project in our annual budget, it is clear that achieving Vision 20:2020 will rely heavily on the private sector. Hence, the need to refocus and rename the ministry which is that vital link between the private sector and the economy”, he explained.
The minister warned that it would no longer be business as usual; saying the ministry, departments and each parastatal would have key performance indices (KPIs), which will be monitored regularly.
According to him, the ministry would be kicking off with a workshop on investments by Mckinsey on Tuesday and would be followed by an off-site for the ministry within the next two weeks, adding that with the cooperation of the entire staff, a major difference will be made at improving the nation’s economy.
The Minister of State, Dr. Samuel Ortom had earlier advised the staff to be ready for change in the ministry to ensure the success of the transformational economic agenda of the Federal Government, affirming that this was the best way to reduce unemployment and poverty in the country.
Ortom, who noted that the good foundation for good governance had been laid by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, sought the support and cooperation of all Nigerians for the president to deliver more dividends of democracy to them.
He assured of good working relationship with Aganga to assist the president in his desire to grow the nation’s economy through trade and investment to reduce unemployment and poverty in the country.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Abubakar Koro Muhammad, while handing over the notes to the ministers, said part of the ministry’s mission was to transform Nigeria to a fully industrialised nation and hub of economic activities in Africa.
He added that the ministry also had the mandate to promote trade and investment, campaign for made-in-Nigeria goods for competitive market and employment generation for the youths.