Clement Danhutor

The Federal Government on Saturday challenged the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to come up with new ideas to turn Nigeria into an industrial giant.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechuku Enelemah stated this in Kaduna, at the opening ceremony of the 37th Kaduna International Trade Fair. He said the administration would accommodate new ideas for inclusive and sustainable economic development of the country away from oil.

According to Enelemah, the task of transforming Nigeria into an industrial giant cannot be achieved without the needed collaboration with the private sector, according to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report. “In this regard, the ministry of industry, trade and investment will welcome ideas, suggestions, proposals and initiatives from all stakeholders on how to chart the path for an inclusive and sustainable economic development”, he added.

He stressed that such contribution would go a long way in assisting the administration to review and update existing development policies and strategies to enhance the industrialisation of the country.

Enelemah noted that the theme of the fair, ‘Promoting Solid Minerals Sector for Sustainable Economic Development’ was in tune with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire for change.
“The theme has reinforced the necessity for a paradigm shift from oil to promoting non-oil export products to diversify the revenue based of the economy. This remained the major priority of this administration,” he said.

He stressed that diversification of the country’s economy was necessary in increasing investment inflow into key areas and job creation. “The areas include mining, agriculture and manufacturing among others for enhanced and rapid industrialisation,” he said.
The minister was represented at the event by the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar.

Also speaking, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. Bassey Edem, noted that Nigeria has vast alternatives to oil in its untapped solid mineral deposits.
“Nigeria is richly endowed with variety of solid minerals, which are yet to be fully exploited. The availability of these minerals provides opportunities in exports and local industrial to use as raw materials.

“It provides opportunities for the emergence of new downstream industrial products and increase employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas where the minerals are found,” he said.

Edem, represented by NACCIMA National Vice President, Alhaji Ahmad Ahmad, expressed confidence that the fair would boost business interactions that would exploit the innumerable potentials in the solid mineral sector.
Earlier in his welcome address, President of the Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCMA) Dr. Abdul Bello, said the 37th edition had witnessed upsurge in number of participants.

Bello explained that the theme was deliberately chosen to complement and support the genuine aspiration of the current government for a robust diversification of the national economy.

He however said that to achieve desired result, the current administration must establish a transport network that would support the movement of equipment to mining sites and evacuation of minerals for export.

He also said the policy on artisanal mining to encourage the one-local government-one mineral prospect of the past administration should be implemented.