The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah has reiterated the federal governmentâ€™s commitment to creating an enabling environment for businesses in the country to thrive.
Enelamah also described the annual Kaduna International Trade exhibition as a vital programme for the development of the Nigerian economy.
The minister said this in his keynote address delivered at the opening ceremony of the 39th edition of the fair organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), saying that the theme of the programme: â€˜Promoting Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for International Competitiveness,â€™ was in line with the economic development plan of the current administration.
According to the minister, the trade fair was an important gathering of investors and policymakers and a remarkable annual event that demonstrates KADCCIMAâ€™s commitment to the development of Nigerian economy in general and Kaduna in particular.
â€œLet me share with you some of the important priorities of the government that tie directly with the theme of this trade fair. The interesting thing about this theme, which is so apt is that it ties directly into the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the country because that plan is anchored on three objectives: promoting inclusive growth, investing in our people, and promoting competitiveness,â€ he added.
â€œTherefore, the Kaduna Trade Fair is headed in the right direction in choosing to focus on commerce, industry, agriculture and international competitiveness. And as you know one of the important priorities of this government and indeed of Nigerians is agriculture, and this is one area where weâ€™ve done very well as a country,â€ he said.
Enelamah stated that other cardinal priority objectives of the federal government were to make Nigeria one of the easiest places to do business in the world; to make Nigeria one of the most attractive
countries for investors to invest in; and to make Nigeria one of the safest countries for people to live in and do business in a competitive manner.
He said owing to the importance of trade to Nigeria the government last year set up the National Office for Trade Negotiation and had prioritised trade as a very important instrument for a reform.
He said government had gone further in prioritising trade by
negotiating the Continental Africa Free Trade Area Agreement, revealing that the agreement would be signed next month in Kilgali, Rwanda.
â€œThe President will be there with the rest of the African Union Commission to sign the agreement. The purpose of the agreement will be to promote regional trade. Right now, intra-Africa trade is less than 15 per cent.
Earlier in her welcome address, KADCCIMA President, Dr. Muheeba Farida Dankaka, said this yearâ€™s edition of the fair like previous ones had
witnessed an upsurge in the number of participants, stakeholders and patrons in spite of the countryâ€™s economic challenges.
She explained that the theme of the programme was chosen to complement the effort of the government towards revamping the economy through investment in agriculture, manufacturing, trade, services and
â€œWeâ€™re also focusing our attention on our agro industrial sector as a means of refocusing the Nigerian economy. We have been challenged by
the great economic recession all over the world to think of new strategies to reposition our chamber and the trade fair,â€ Dankaka said.