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Aganga: N8.5trn Foreign Direct Investments Underway

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SAN FRANCISCO, January 31, (THEWILL) - A whopping N8.5 trillion foreign direct investment (FDI) is on the way to Nigeria as numerous global companies have indicated interest to invest in the country.

The development and the commitments shown by these companies are the results of the huge investment drive embarked upon by the Federal Government.

Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this ,Wednesday, while speaking with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.

Aganga, who was in the company of the Minister for Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia as well as Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, said the commitments made by the foreign companies will roll on for the next half a decade.

According to Aganga, "Our foreign investment drive is bringing results with foreign investment commitments hitting N8.5 trillion and this is going to be for the next five years.

"According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), we attracted $8.9 billion worth of foreign investments last year, the largest in Africa and this also makes us one of the best investment destinations in the world.

"We now have an integrated trade and investment policy which was lacking for a long time."

Aganga also disclosed that the free trade zone got a boost with about N6 billion investments in 2012, saying the business climate is now more investor-friendly with the fast-tracking of business registration under 24 hours by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

He stated that the apex government is planning to unveil a Made in Nigeria automobile policy and strategy.

"We are one among two countries that do not have a clear national automobile policy. We are working with National Automotive Council (NAC) on this. We need to boost our local content and make the industry competitive.

"We are in discussion with two or three auto giants who will bring massive investments into Nigeria.

"Since we came on board, substandard goods have been reduced to 60 percent from 85 percent, but we are actually targeting 30 percent. For food and drugs that threaten lives, we target 0 percent.

"The textile industry under our care has also created about 5,000 jobs. The President will inaugurate the competitiveness council which will be led by the private sector. We have sold Nigeria's potentials to 31 countries, we have attracted investors from all parts of the world, they have shown massive interest in Nigeria.

"The cement sector created two million jobs and saved the country more than N200 billion naira in foreign exchange. The sector now has a capacity of 28.6 million metric tonnes from 16 million metric tonnes

"The Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Small and Medium Scale Entreprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Bank of Industry (BoI) will come up with a national entrepreneur plan," he explained.

Speaking earlier on the issues discussed at the FEC meeting, Presidential spokesman, Abati , who moderated the media briefing, disclosed that they had to do with the appraisal of the performance of the Ministries of Trade and Investment and Environment in the preceeding year.

On her part, Minister for Environment, Mailafia, said one other issue that came out of the Council meeting was the concern expressed by President Jonathan about erosion devastation in the South-east.

"And Mr. President has directed that the committee led by the Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Engr Emeka Ezeh, should proceed immediately to visit ongoing erosion sites in the South-eastern part of the country with a view to ascertaining the seriousness of the contractors.

"This team of experts from the various departments of government will assess the state of execution and completion of the various projects, look at ways of better management of the projects as well as advise government on the prioritisation of those projects," she said.

According to her, "One point that was made very clear by Mr. President is that unserious contractors involved in any of these projects will have their projects determined and may be prosecuted if they are found culpable.

"All of these again is aimed at ensuring that we are better prepared ahead of the rainy season and that proactive steps are taken to ensure that needless hardship is avoided."

The Minister disclosed that "The team include the team representatives at the level of directors from the Ministries of Works, Land, Environment, Water Resources, the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government and the Ecological Office."

According to Mailafia, "The President promised to deliver 15 Eastern erosion projects. Two are ready for commissioning and will be commissioned in a fortnight. The other 13 are nearing completion."