Doris Uzoka-Anite Brings Renewed Hope Alive With Quality Delivery

Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, a highly cerebral, cosmopolitan, and suave individual, has brought a fresh gust of summer wind to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s team with her disruptive ideas that are changing the fortunes of Nigeria in terms of trade facilitation, Industrial Revolution and investment opportunities. As the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, she has used her magic wand to bring about quality delivery and amplify the Renewed Hope message to Nigerians. Her remarkable achievements since taking charge have been nothing short of outstanding, and her contributions have made a significant impact on the development of the country. OLADAPO SOFOWORA highlights her remarkable achievement since she assumed office as Minister.

A Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu said in one of his popular quotes; “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step”, this has become the truism since the swearing-in of Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite as Nigeria’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu last year. Dr. Uzoka-Anite immediately hit the ground running in her quest to further put Nigeria on the map as an investment destination of choice for foreign and local investors by also igniting seamless trade activities with policies to drive the ease of doing business in Nigeria and expunging all possible bottlenecks affecting trade activities.

 With much gusto and seriousness, She has achieved a remarkable turnaround with just barely a year in charge of the ministry with impeccable deliverables that have sparked the economy to a blistering and boisterous level. As an avid team player, owning to her background as commissioner for Finance in Imo State and a seasoned banker with Zenith Bank, she maintained a purposeful symbiotic relationship and collaboration with the staff of the ministry by creating an atmosphere that is purpose-driven and also result-oriented in line with President Tinubu’s mandate of reviving the economy through trade, job creation and expunging all bottlenecks mitigating against the growth of the nation’s trade and investment sector.

When she came into office; she understudies all modes of operation while she also spoke to the staff on the need to key into her vision and mission in line with President Tinubu’s 8-Point Agenda where Trade, Industry and Investment play a pivotal role in its actualization. She started with the supervision and management of multilateral trade and investment negotiations that will help attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country to help create employment and also ensure more forex inflow with the establishment of a Trade Intelligence Unit in synergy with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Customs Services, the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace and the Central Bank of Nigeria. The TIU is providing all trade-related data and information in Nigeria by integrating big data and artificial intelligence.

The Unit will use accumulated information to predict local and global economic trends, which will help Nigerian traders with invaluable insights to navigate potential global economic shocks and provide strategic guidance to enhance Nigeria’s economic growth. With her unwavering passion, she is helping Nigeria transit from the over-reliance on revenue from Oil and Gas to other sources of income through trade of other commodities via the export of finished products, talent export and a host of others. Dr. Uzoka-Anite has also initiated several plans to grow Nigeria’s economy via food production, processing and agricultural industrialization, food export business and improvement in the farming sector; enhancing self-sufficiency in feeding the nation with what it grows and also reducing the burden of importation of food and beverages, saving Nigeria billions of dollars annually.

 While attending the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India last year, the Honorable Minister fostered a strategic partnership between Nigeria and India thereby strengthening the age-long trade relationship between both countries which saw the actualization of Nigeria’s quest to improve its technological strength and also understudy policies which saw Indian government elevate a vast majority of its population from the poverty line. Uzoka-Anite has studied the need for a total overhaul, upgrade and change in the mentality of Nigeria to ensure purchasing power with less liquidity as it is done in developed economies across the world. She developed the much-talked-about Consumer Credit system.

The goal is to increase consumer credit uptake to enable a sustainable credit system in line with global best practices and enhance supporting infrastructure to boost credit facilitation. Funds have been earmarked from the 2024 Appropriation bill to begin the process of establishing a viable Consumer Credit system for Nigeria. Uzoka-Anite created another policy and framework that will further set the country on the path of greatness with the Nigerian Trade Facilitation Committee’s relaunch to enhance the efficiency of Trade Facilitation and Liberalization. She strategically designed the merger of the TFL with the already existing Nigerian Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) to be streamlined and relaunched as the NTFC. The relaunch of NTFC will be nimbler and more strategic in achieving the overall objective of improving trade facilitation in Nigeria. While still being applauded for this initiative; She integrated the Presidential Grant, Loan Scheme and Palliative Programme targeted to provide financial assistance to individuals and businesses due to the biting and dwindling economy. The Bank of Industry (BOI) has been charged with the administration and effective deployment of these funds, under the auspices of the Ministry which is currently being disbursed and Nigerians in their large numbers have thanked the administration for the funds.

 To increase the chances of Artisans and the informal sector service providers in Nigeria; Uzoka-Anite disclosed that it is necessary to ensure Artisans are given the required certification which will not only avail them the opportunity in Nigeria it will also open doors of opportunity for talent exchange programmes with countries Nigeria is in partnership with. She berthed the idea of licensing and certification of Artisans under the Skill-UP Artisans (SUPA) initiative with the Industrial Training Funds ITF to improve artisan skills through licensing and certification to meet industry standards, boosting quality and consumer trust with the aim of 10 Million job creation, overall economic growth and talent export opportunities under the National Talent Exchange Programme (NATEP) which she launched in New York, United States of America alongside the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) during the 78th edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

 To fetch more revenue and development into the country, she has paid rapt attention to the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) strategic stakeholder engagement with high-level players in the Oil $ Gas sector. The initiative has enabled the realization of infrastructural development, job creation and foreign exchange inflows with secured investment commitments from APM Terminals, amounting to $112 million for a state-of-the-art facility and an additional $500 million over the next four years. This commitment is projected to create employment for 900,000 skilled and unskilled workers in Nigeria. The Minister also commissioned an in-depth review of the Free Trade Zones in Nigeria, to identify areas of improvement by considering the incentives applicable, the applicable Laws and proposed policy reforms required to stimulate and catalyze the economic benefits of the Free Trade Zones and the Special Economic Zones for the benefit of local and foreign investors. She also charged the Corporate Affairs Commission to open a window for the registration of 2 million businesses to help revive the economy which will result in the creation of approximately 50 million jobs.

This ongoing scheme will ensure financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, and economic empowerment which will help encourage the export of commodities to attract forex into the economy. She moved for the establishment of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Connect service unit of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council that is responsible for promoting non-oil export in Nigeria, the Council is charged with the strategic mandate to engage and connect exporters with solutions to their export challenges. The Unit is bridging the gap between the Council and non-oil exporters. Knowing and acknowledging the commitment of diasporas to the economy, Uzoka Anite has also advocated for their inclusion in policymaking and also wooed them to ensure constant remittance that will help stimulate the growth of the Nigerian economy. To help achieve her plans, she created a Diaspora Fund scheme that will help increase forex inflow, leverage diaspora expertise and technology, and eliminate trade barriers to attract foreign investments. She also designed and developed the establishment of a Diaspora Fund which seeks to harness the skills and resources of the Nigerian diaspora for national advancement to unlock the economic potential of the Nigerian diasporas, fostering a conducive business environment and contributing to the country in collaboration with the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).

 To ensure industrialization in the country, she received a commitment from investors to Establish a State-Of-The-Art Lead Battery Recycling Plant by Til Group and Oztugrul. The investment plays a pivotal role in various industries, including automotive, telecommunications, and renewable energy. However, the proper disposal and recycling of lead batteries are crucial for environmental sustainability and public health. To further strengthen partnerships with other countries to show that Nigeria is serious about opening its arm for more investment; Uzoka-Anite showed her negotiating power by leveraging on already established relationships by building new ones. She has attended Bilateral engagements that will in the long run be beneficial to Nigeria. Her Participation in the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit 2023 reiterates Nigeria’s commitment to encourage and expand trade with Her commonwealth partners and dismantle all barriers to trade and investments through substantial reforms.

This platform also provided an opportunity for a productive bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for the Department of Business and Trade – Honourable Kemi Badenoch, which accelerated concrete negotiations on the conclusion and execution of the Enhanced Trade in Partnership between both Nations. The Establishment of a Saudi – Nigeria Business Council, Proposed establishment of Abu Dhabi – Nigeria Economic Council, Proposed establishment of an Emirati – Nigeria Business Council, Advanced Stages of Partnership Discussions on Talent – Export Program with Germany, Preliminary Stages of Partnership Discussions on a Talent – Export Program with UAE, Revitalization of the Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment (JMACITI), Technical Partnership with Bosch and the German Association of Automotive Industry and a host of others in the pipeline will favour Nigeria and help put us on a high pedestal as a nation fast developing through strategic partnership and massive industrialization.

 To show solidarity with local manufacturers and stakeholders; Uzoka-Anite kick-started 2024 with a factory tour to identify and seek to address challenges facing local manufacturers in a bid to foster a stronger manufacturing economy. Following the successful factory tour to The Nigerian Bottling Company, Unilever, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Sugar Refinery, Foods and Golden Sugar Ltd, MRS, Flour Mill, Gerewa oil Mill and a host of others, there is general optimism about the Nigerian Industrial market: the manufacturers forecast continued growth of their businesses and have made investment plans to support this growth. This also led to the establishment of the quarterly Town Hall with Indigenous Private Equity and Asset Management Firms meeting which brings together reputable private equity and asset management firms in Nigeria to build a public-private partnership towards boosting investment in Nigeria, with a key focus on harnessing both Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local market opportunities.

This also ignited the Saudi Business Round Table to foster a deeper understanding of Nigeria, assuring counterparts and investors of Nigeria’s readiness and support. Saudi Arabia has in turn pledged $10 billion in export finance to Africa by 2030 through the Saudi Exim Banks. An agreement between Saudi Exim Bank and Nexim Bank was also reached to establish a fund promoting trade between the two countries. She also ensured a Trade Facilitation Stakeholder Engagement, Engagement on Consumer Credit, Engagement with the Creative Industry, Engagement on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Revival, Engagement on Commodities Exchange and a host of others.

 Dr Uzoka’s open-door policy and also paying rapt attention to the plights of stakeholders by proffering solutions to the challenges faced by investors or prospective investors to help promote economic boom and poverty reduction has gathered her great applause. She is also a strong advocate for cross-ministry partnership among other sister ministries which will further create a more functional and robust partnership in bringing the renewed hope mandate into full realization.

Despite achieving a lot within her short stay in office, she is still working assiduously round the clock to achieve a long-term goal by creating more jobs, giving all necessary paperwork and supervising all agencies that will set in motion all plans to rejig the country’s economy. As they say that; the reward for a job well done is more job, Uzoka-Anite is ready to put in more commitment and also work hard to assist the President in bringing the dividend of democracy to Nigerians.

Related Articles