James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, tuesday said the federal government has directed all its foreign missions abroad to commence a 48- hour visa issuance programme to those willing to do business in Nigeria.
He said by the latest directive, bottlenecks associated with visa issuance in all its foreign missions should be discontinued in order to make it easy for potential investors to come into Nigeria and do businesses.
Enelamah added that the federal government was currently carrying out series of reforms in the business environment, stressing that the era where investors see Nigeria as a difficult place to do business was over.
He said President Muhammedu Buhari had already launched the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council( PEBEC) to drive government effort to identify and reduce bureaucratic processes and regulations that impede the private sector
The minister said the federal government under the purview of PEBEC had been working on three priority reforms areas with 17 quick wins to reposition the investment to climate.
According to him, the areas are entry and exit of goods where seven reforms would be carried out, entry and exit of people where six reforms would be carried out, government and transparency with four reforms.
He said: “Our visa on arrival procedure is now fully operational, with an upcoming increase in the number of eligible countries. Directive has been issued on 48 hour visa issuance by Nigerian missions abroad.
“We have foreign missions in almost all the major countries of the world and we feel the missions should be used to sell Nigerian products abroad and also used as a point for those who want to invest in Nigeria to make their enquiries.
Speaking on what Nigeria stands to gain from the recent signing of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the minister said when implemented, the TFA would radically increase the volume and value of trade in goods.
He explained that the greater the volume, more revenue are generated, which would in turn lead to more jobs and economic expansion.
He said: “Jobs are created because economies grow and expand. This expansion in trade naturally leads to industrialisation and diversification,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said the ministry had secured a grant of over $600,000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for predevelopment study towards the conversion of six out of the 23 industrial development centres to industrial clusters.
She said the fund would resuscitate the IDCs and position them to be a catalyst for economic development.
She added that the findings of the study are expected to provide bankable centres to be converted into full-blown economic clusters where private participation and investment will be sought.