Incoming trade minister tasked with developing opportunities in healthcare and agribusiness

Incoming trade minister tasked with developing opportunities in healthcare and agribusiness

In an open letter to the incoming Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Bamidele Seun Owoola, CEO of Welcome2Africa International, Bamidele Owoola, urged the upcoming administration to focus on building a pipeline of opportunities across various sectors, especially healthcare, agribusiness, and minerals, to create job opportunities, increase export earnings, and contribute to the overall development of the country.

Owoola lauded the efforts of the past minister in driving growth despite global economic challenges. She mentioned the drafting and validation of the first Nigeria Investment Policy (NinP), launch of the Zero-oil plan, Nigeria’s blueprint for non-oil export, and the impact of the N50bn Export Expansion Fund Program.

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Nigeria recorded over 12% compounded annual growth rate in the value of exports, achieved $1.4 billion in non-oil export earnings in Q4 2022, and $4.8 billion in full-year 2022. Owoola also commended the re-enactment of the Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA) that provided a robust framework for reforming identified drawbacks, reducing the time and cost of registering businesses and providing data to improve investments.

The CEO urged the upcoming administration to focus on investment mapping and investor targeting, which are critical strategies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and promote economic growth in Nigeria. She stressed the need to identify countries with a genuine interest in the investment opportunities available in Nigeria and actively engage with them to foster mutually beneficial partnerships. Owoola recommended working closely with the private sector, particularly providers that support the facilitation of investment and trade into Nigeria.

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By leveraging the expertise and resources of private sector partners, the ministry can improve trade and investment flows, promote competitiveness, and create employment opportunities for Nigerians.

Another area of interest is advocating for risk mechanisms. Introducing innovative risk-sharing mechanisms such as risk-sharing facilities, insurance products, technical assistance, and capacity building for stakeholders, and addressing the inherent risks and uncertainties involved in investment, the Ministry will be able to unlock financing and investment opportunities, thereby promoting increased lending and investment into various sectors of Nigeria.

Owoola recommended advocating for the privatization of moribund projects within the states, as privatization can inject fresh capital, expertise, and innovation into moribund projects, breathing new life into them and stimulating economic growth. She also stressed the need for branding and communication to improve Nigeria’s poor image globally.

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The Ministry of Trade and Investment, in collaboration with the Nigeria Investment and Promotion Council (NIPC), can work together to build Nigeria’s image by developing a comprehensive branding strategy, a professional website and utilizing social media platforms.

Owoola also highlighted the need for better coordination across all the relevant NDAs and Ministries to overcome the lack of synchronization among the MDAs and Ministries, which has resulted in overlapping mandates and uncoordinated actions, hindering the effective implementation of government policies and programs, leading to suboptimal outcomes and reduced impacts.

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