By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal Government says it will take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create jobs as it builds a competitive economy.
The Director of the Investment Department of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and investment, Mrs Olukemi Arodudu, told participants at a forum “for attracting investment for rural development in Nigeria” held in Abuja yesterday that Nigeria must be innovative to use the African market to the country’s advantage.
“It is time for Nigeria to decide her own fate by determining her areas of comparative advantages, laying emphasis on them, and directing the incoming foreign direct investments in to them for the good of our people,” she said.
The expert said if Nigeria must reap maximum benefit from the African free market pact, the country must tackle the myriad of challenges of poverty, food security, threats to security of lives and property, unemployment and infrastructural decay amongst others, whichhas not only become compulsory, but also urgent.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, said in these times when Africa has decided to pull down some economic borders and become one large market, individual African nations need to be more strategic and deliberate in their economic policies.
“Our neighbours are attracting investors, with the promise that they can produce in their countries and selling to Nigeria and they are offering diverse kinds of incentives to make that happen. To prevent Nigeria from becoming the dumping ground for goods and services produced in our sister African states, Nigeria has to be very deliberate and strategic henceforth, in her investment promotion and facilitation amongst others,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said it is expedient for each state in the nation to come up with investment promotion strategies that will attract investment, boost internally generated revenue and help our SMEs to be competitive.