By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

The Federal Government said it has granted no fewer than 12,000 Expatriate Quota licences to foreigners seeking to work in Nigeria whilst it has treated applications from 2,000 companies within the last two years.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this on Friday in Kaduna while delivering a goodwill message titled, ‘That business may thrive in Kaduna’, on the Second day of the 6th Edition of the Annual Kaduna Economic Investment, KADINVEST 6.0.

Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Sola Fasure who disclosed this in a statement quoted the minister as saying that; “The Ministry from inception till date has handled 14,690 companies and granted 126,893 quota licences to expatriates. However, from August 2019 till date we have registered more than 2,000 companies while over 12,000 expatriates have been given permits to work in Nigeria”.

“We now handle applications with dispatch and will encourage any firm or organization with genuine need for expatriates to bring their applications. We shall accord it with the required courtesy. The Minister also reiterated the fact that Nigeria is still a good and profitable investment haven, even in the face of security challenges.

“In spite of the challenges we have faced, it might interest us to know that Nigeria is still an investor’s dream where there is abundant raw materials, highly skilled and affordable workforce and the largest market for goods and services in Africa. The return on investment has always been mouth-watering”, he added.

The Minister who commended the Kaduna State Government, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for organizing the Summit and choosing the topic, ‘Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy’, revealed that this year’s theme is a most fitting concept for the moment.

According to Aregbesola, there has been a paradigm shift from comparative advantage to competitiveness and knowledge and innovation will continue to drive business in the foreseeable future. He therefore asked Nigerian entrepreneurs to invest in knowledge, innovation and cutting edge technologies.

“Looking at the history of economic development, we can see that there was a quantum leap in economic production at the onset of Industrial Revolution circa 1760 in England, compared to what obtained in the feudal era. The introduction of machines and factory system that enabled mass production of goods unleashed economic prosperity on the industrialised nations such that in a period of 50 years, it had created a yawning gap between them and the societies still trapped in feudal productions.

“Two and a half centuries down the line, the paradigm of production will be further altered spectacularly with advancement in knowledge altogether. Economic production in the immediate Industrial Revolution era had been built on the factors of nearness to raw materials and markets, among others. Therefore, the concept of comparative advantage is said to favour locales where these factors count higher than others. A petroleum refinery under this outlook is said to be best sited near oil deposit, just as automobile factories are recommended to be sited near iron ore deposits.

“But all that has changed. The new idea now is competitiveness. This is the concept of where, how and which firms can best produce the same product qualitatively and at the best price, discounting the old notion of comparative advantage. Under competitiveness, companies with natural advantages can be bested by the ones with innovation, superior technology and superior knowledge of production, marketing and transportation, factors that will combine to produce more qualitative goods at cheaper prices. This is actually a knowledge driven economic system in which knowledge is the dominant factor in production”, Aregbesola stated.

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However, the Minister noted the nexus between security and the economy, stating that security is a critical factor in economic production and assures that the government is addressing the challenges faced by the country.

“No economic activity can take place successfully in an insecure environment. This is where government comes in. As we all know, we have had some security challenges in the past, but we are overcoming them and hopefully they will soon be a thing of the past, given government renewed onslaught on the problem. The environment must be enabling for business.

“The Federal Government is deeply concerned about national security and will spare no effort to secure lives, property and every inch of our territory. A cardinal objective of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is to improve considerably the ease of doing business and minimise, if not eliminate altogether, any hinderance to doing business in Nigeria,” the Minister revealed.

Also at the event were, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe; the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Dr. Uche Ogah; Emir of Zazzau, Emir Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli; His Royal Highness, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; State Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, top echelon of the security services in the country, investors and other distinguished guests.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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