Special Report

January 11, 2024

Made in Nigeria, exported to the World: Nigeria’s attempt at trade revolution

Doris Uzoka Anite

Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Doris Nkiruka-Anite Uzoka

By Victoria Ojeme

For decades, Nigeria’s economic narrative has been dominated by a single, viscous word: oil. Even at that, the “Made in Nigeria” label carried the weight of unfulfilled potential. Products, often hampered by quality concerns and logistical bottlenecks, struggled to compete on the global stage.

However, a few months into her tenure, Dr. Doris Uzoka Anite, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, has already made waves with her bold vision and decisive actions. From prioritizing local manufacturing to tackling the challenges of MSMEs, her initiatives hold the promise of transforming the country’s economic landscape.

Anite’s vision is audacious: to transform Nigeria from a resource-dependent nation into a vibrant hub of export-oriented manufacturing. Her focus is laser-sharp: non-oil exports. From the bustling garment factories of Lagos to the cashew processing plants of Enugu, she is empowering local industries to not only meet domestic needs but also conquer international markets.

This revolution is not fueled by empty promises; it is built on concrete action. Anite has spearheaded a series of initiatives that are tearing down the walls that have long constrained Nigerian businesses. The N75 billion single-digit loan scheme is a lifeline for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), providing them with the capital they need to scale up and tap into global markets. The renewed commitment to quality control ensures that “Made in Nigeria” products are not just affordable, but also world-class.

Anite’s commitment to boosting Nigeria’s export capacity is evident in her focus on quality control and non-oil exports. Her emphasis on improving the quality of locally manufactured goods aims to make them competitive in the international market, paving the way for increased export volumes. This shift away from oil dependence can diversify the economy and attract foreign investment.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of any thriving economy, and Anite recognizes their crucial role. The N75 billion intervention fund at single-digit interest rates, coupled with plans for small grants and training academies, signifies a significant shift in support for MSMEs. This financial assistance and skill development will empower these businesses to flourish, creating jobs and driving economic growth.

Streamlining the oil sector’s trade processes is another key initiative. Automating export permits promises to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and expedite transactions, boosting efficiency and attracting more players to the sector. Additionally, Anite’s focus on the repatriation of export proceeds, particularly in oil, aims to address the issue of foreign exchange scarcity and stabilize the naira. This can lead to lower inflation and create a more favorable environment for businesses.

Anite’s success hinges on her ability to collaborate with stakeholders. Her partnership with UNIDO for the training academy and her engagement with oil and gas industry players demonstrate her commitment to working together for a common goal. This collaborative approach can foster trust, address challenges effectively, and pave the way for sustainable development.

While Anite’s initiatives are promising, translating them into tangible results will require sustained effort and strategic execution. Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are crucial to ensure that funds reach their intended recipients and that training programmes deliver the desired skills. Additionally, addressing infrastructural bottlenecks and reducing corruption will be essential for creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Dr. Anite’s recognition by MIPAD as one of the most influential people in Trade and Export in Africa is a testament to her leadership and vision. It also reflects the international community’s confidence in her ability to transform Nigeria’s economy. Her initiatives, if successfully implemented, hold the potential to unlock Nigeria’s vast economic potential, creating a more prosperous and diversified future for the nation.

Dr. Doris Uzoka Anite’s early tenure as Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment has been marked by a refreshing sense of urgency and a clear vision for Nigeria’s economic future. Her focus on boosting exports, empowering MSMEs, and streamlining trade processes offers a promising roadmap for growth.

While challenges remain, her commitment to collaboration and her recognition by MIPAD inspire hope for a brighter economic future for Nigeria. Only time will tell whether her initiatives will bear fruit, but one thing is certain: Dr. Anite is a breath of fresh air in Nigeria’s economic landscape, and her leadership deserves to be closely watched in the months and years to come.