By Crusoe Osagie
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has stated that Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification, inclusive growth, job creation and a viable economy cannot be achieved without the Organised Private Sector (OPS), stressing that the private sector is the most important ally to take Nigeria out of its present economic woes.
The minister noted that any wise government must create an enabling environment for private sectors to thrive, saying that the presidential council on ease of doing business will help to identify the bottlenecks hindering the growth of businesses in the country and also give the private sectors the desired support to attract both local and foreign investments.
Enelamah, during an interactive session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: “One of the most important objectives we have as a government is to partner with the private sector and private capital to realise the goals and ambitions of government, because those goals such as economic diversification, inclusive growth, job creation and an economy that weathers all kinds of shocks, but to achieve this, the most important ally to the federal government is the private sector.”
He added: “They are the ones that would ensure Nigeria achieves economic diversification, industrialisation enhanced trade and investment both local and international. A wise government must focus on creating an enabling environment the private sectors. Singapore has been able to transform their economy by attracting investments and creating a hub where people are happy to do business. Nigeria can do the same to achieve the same feat.”
He however stated that the lack of an enabling environment is a deterrent to entrepreneurship development, saying that entrepreneurship is the heart of economic activities especially in a country like Nigeria where there are little or no employers to provide employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the nation.
“We must encourage entrepreneurial activity where people do things and in so doing become employers of labour rather than being job seekers,” he added.
”Our ministry should be considered as a ministry of enabling environment for industry trade and investment. When I joined this government, I made a commitment to say if I do not work on anything else, I will work on enabling environment for businesses. The government owes the business community a duty to give the business community an environment in which they can thrive, so that all the bottlenecks that hinders businesses will be addressed. Without an enabling environment, the government suffers because we do not get the kind of growth or revenue to work with and certainly our stakeholders also suffers, because it takes longer to do things and it is even a deterrent to entrepreneurship.” he added.
He commended the LCCI for its successful ongoing international trade fair, pointing out that the chamber is one of the most important in the country playing a vital role in the government’s quest for economic diversification.
“We appreciate the tremendous work your are doing not just for Lagos, but Nigeria at large. I can assure you of our support and our commitment to working with you for the greater good of our country,” he added.
Earlier, the President, LCCI, Mrs. Nike Akande, stated that with the dwindling global oil price, it is pertinent for both the private and public sectors to focus on developing the non-oil sector of the economy, maintaining that the sector is more inclusive and more growth oriented
“There is perhaps no better time to do this than now. This year oil price got to its lowest in two decades. This calls for major adjustments in both public and private sectors of the economy. Needless to say, it is imperative at this time to focus on the non oil sector for diversification.
The non-oil economy is generally more inclusive and integrated. It is also more growth-oriented, and characterised by high economic linkages, more stable and above all more sustainable. It is important for us to appreciate these fundamental dynamics of the Nigerian economy in order to be able to construct polices that would ensure sustainable economic development,” she said.
She stressed that the pressing and overriding challenge in the nation’s quest for economic diversification is to fix the impediments to productivity and competitiveness in the economy, saying that if Nigeria tackles these constraints it would encourage domestic investment, attract foreign capital and facilitate the realisation of the enormous potentials in the economy.
“These potentials abound in the agricultural, industrial, gas based industries; services, solid minerals, tourism, and distributive trade sectors. Recent developments in the global economy have further underlined the imperative of economic diversification. It is heart-warming to note that evidence of innovation; ingenuity, resilience and doggedness of Nigerian entrepreneurs abound at this Trade Fair. Even in the face of economic recession, they are determined to succeed,” she added.
Meanwhile, she lauded the federal government Presidential Council on Ease-of Doing Business under the chairmanship of Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, saying that this will no doubt impact positively on current investment climate conditions in the country.
“As a policy advocacy group, we will continue to offer advice, inputs and partnership on strategies and measures to facilitate the advancement of the Nigerian economy,” she said.