James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Richard Adebayo, has expressed the federal government’s preparedness to partner Russia towards a long-term collaboration to boost agribusiness activities in the country.
The minister stated this at Sochi, Russia, recently.
The session, according to a statement made available by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Julius Toba-Jegede, was tagged: “Sustainable Partnership in Agriculture: Institution, Tools and Guarantees.”
Adebayo said Nigerian government would support Russian investment propositions aimed at boosting local capacity of primary production of food crops, crop processing, agricultural input supplies and machinery for on-farm and secondary processing of other agricultural produce.
He further assured the gathering that the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was implementing policies to enhance investor confidence in the nation’s agro-allied industry and economy.
He identified such policies to include Nigeria Sugar Plan, Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy, Nigeria tomato policy, and leather and leather product policy.
He also revealed that the government is presently focused on creating frameworks for investment and growth in diary, oil palm and cassava industries.
He said Nigeria would foster partnership with Russia to jointly improve and expand risk mitigation structures, like: agric insurance, infrastructure investment risk guarantees and FX hedging instruments.
According to him: “Nigeria has launched key initiatives directed towards the achievement of sustained economic growth and diversification, especially the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Nigeria is indeed blessed with large arable land, which makes agriculture an important sector of the economy.
“The sector contributes 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), growing at an average rate of 4 per cent per annum and currently employs 50 per cent of the labour force. The potential remains vast as only 40 per cent of arable land is currently cultivated.
“To maximise this potential, the Nigerian Government has accelerated the implementation of critical agriculture related initiatives to drive development in the sector.”
The minister also listed the agriculture related programmes embarked upon by government to include the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACs), the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, the Zero Reject Initiative and the ‘Made in Nigeria,’ for exports programme.
He said: “I am most pleased the President Vladimir Putin declared 2019 as the year of Africa-Russia Relations, which aligns with the long-term aspirations of Nigeria.
“Thus, we will welcome investment propositions in boosting local capacity of primary production of food crops; rice, soybeans, wheat, cassava, sugar cane, tomato as well as cash crops – cocoa, oils and rubber.
“Crops processing, Agricultural input supplies and machinery for on-farm and secondary processing of other agricultural produce with large local demand.
“In creating an enabling environment to stimulate domestic investment, consciously attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and position Nigeria as the “preferred Investment Destination,” the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing some policies to secure investors’ confidence in the agro-allied industry and the economy.
“These policies include the Nigeria Sugar Plan, Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy. Nigeria Tomato Policy, and Leather and Leather Product Policy.
“Similarly, we are currently creating frameworks to trigger investment growth in dairy, oil and cassava industry.
“It gives me great pleasure to inform you that Nigeria is committed to fostering its partnership arrangement with Russia: to enter long-term bilateral agreements to grow the Nigeria market and boost local production.
” To take advantage of its investment incentives and government’s overall focus on growing the agricultural sector and to jointly improve and expand risk mitigation structures, e.g agric insurance, infrastructure investment risk guarantees and FX hedging instruments, and there’s no time to enter an agriculture partnership with Nigeria than now.”