The Honorable Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has said that consistency and implementation is what is needed for the successful execution of the nation’s Industrial Revolution Plan. The Minister made this known at FBN Capital’s 4th Annual Investor Conference which held on November 11, 2014 in Lagos.
“We have to diversify our economy to achieve the successful execution of the nation’s Industrial Revolution Plan” he said. He highlighted that Agriculture is a sector which is still operating below its potential, as the nation’s land could grow just about any type of crop ranging from tomatoes to cotton. “We have 44 solid minerals that we can focus on. It is achievable. All we need is consistency and implementation. We have already drafted plans in some areas and we have identified seven areas that can make this plan successful” he added.
He identified availability and access to finance, competitive industrial skills, availability of power and infrastructure, quality standards, identification of some of the products that can be exported, and the execution of the One State One Product (OSOP) plan which highlights that each state must have a product it would export; stating that the automobile sector is also a sector that can perform higher than its current performance.
According to the Minister, the nation spends about N3 billion on the importation of cars and about another N3 billion on the importation of vehicle parts. “We must invest in the automobile industry” he said, debunking reports that the national automotive policy is controversial and was prepared in a hurry.
On doing business in Nigeria, he said though the World Bank ranked us higher; the nation was still not where it should be. “That is not where I want us to be. By next year, I want us to rank higher. We are delighted that we have made progress but we should be far higher” he said. He said the ease of starting business in Nigeria would be further improved as the ministry was working towards online registration of businesses.
Also speaking at the conference, Mrs Omobola Johnson, the Honourable Minister of Communication Technology said the ICT Ministry was working with other government agencies to move the ministry forward as the ICT sector is strategic, significant and important.
“There are changes in the sector but nothing has reached critical mass. Voice has reached critical mass but there is still so much to do. We are making progress on internet penetration- that is reaching critical mass, but again, there is a ton of work to do” she said.
Moving forward, she highlighted high expectations over the next six years. “We expect there to be more than 100 per cent mobile penetration. We expect many more Nigerians to connect to the internet and have better speed. We expect lot more relevant content which will compel more to get on the internet” she said.
She also highlighted that that there should be improved IT in government by 2020, as that is one of the areas experiencing challenges. IT has to be better felt by businesses hence there is an anticipation of bigger presence of government on the internet.
Speaking at the event, Kayode Akinkugbe, MD/CEO FBN Capital said, “we are pleased to host senior representatives from the public sector that have led the effort to regenerate some of these emerging sectors, in addition to key operators from the private sector involved in manufacturing and technology among others”.
He further stated that he expects the insights shared at the event to be particularly valuable and relevant as the nation explores the opportunities in the previously under-represented, fast growing sectors of the economy.