The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has released a compendium capturing its activities from 2015 to 2019 under the leadership of Dr Okechukwu Elenamah
The compendium covers the key areas of Ease of Doing Business, Industrialization, Attracting Investment, MSME Development and Fostering Value Chains.
Under Ease of Doing Business, the Ministry claims it has moved Nigeria up 24 places in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings which constitutes its highest jump in history. The Ministry also claims that registration of businesses now happens in 24 hours online, while visa for foreign visitors on arrival now live in real time with business visas now processed in 48 hours at Nigerian consulates globally. Nigeria moved from 169th to 145th and recognized as one of the most 10 reformed business environments in the world.
The report also says getting electricity has achieved 29 per cent reduction in the procedures for new connections to the national grid.
The report says that the Ministry has achieved passage of two critical laws to facilitate access to credit: Credit Bureau Services Law and Collateral Registry Law. It has also streamlined the Patents and Designs, and Trademarks registries with clearance of 5-year backlog and published annual report on trademarks for the first time in the history of Nigeria.
Under industrialization, the report says the Ministry has established the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council responsible for aggressive implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP). It has also executed five key sector policy reforms in sugar, tomato, cassava, cotton-textile-garment and oil palm; while increasing exports by 48 per cent via reactivation of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Export Development Fund (EDF).
The Ministry has established six Special Economic Zone called Project Mine) and upgraded Industrial Parks in Enugu and Kano. It has also implemented the National Automotive Policy, including the N11bn Automotive Development Fund (ADF).
On attracting foreign investment capital, the ministry has recorded a total of USD139.36 billion in commitment from 2017 till September 2018, the biggest on record so far. It has revamped incentive programmes for investors including a new Pioneer Status regime, and released first compendium of investment incentives in Nigeria; while establishing the Nigerian Investment Certification Programme (NICP) for states to enhance competitiveness.
On MSME development, the Ministry has executed the GEM programme, giving out N3.7 billion to 910 entrepreneurs, and setting up of six innovation hubs throughout the country. It has also executed the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the largest microcredit scheme in the nation’s history involving granting revolving credit to over 1.5 million traders, artisans, youth and farmers.
It has jointly, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, executed 25 MSME Clinics to bring government services directly to the MSE in their states of operation. Also through Bank of Industry, the Ministry has disbursed N487.5 billion to 3, 334 enterprises, provided technical assistance to 21, 000 MSMEs throughout the country.
It has launched the national SME Portal, driving ease of access to government services for SMEs.
On fostering value chains, the Ministry established the Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) focused on representing Nigeria’s best interest in global trade agreements, and correcting past imbalances in Nigeria’s trade relationships.
It has established a coordinating, implementation and monitoring body for Trade Policy to cover the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Commonwealth, ECOWAS and the WTO.
Of major interest are the activities of the Ministry to give the country a new base for industrialization. Without doubt, this has not been an easy task. But the Ministry has managed to create a credible and enabling environment that can foster a new stage of industrialization of the country in the coming years.
For instance, the ministry is pursuing doggedly the actualization of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan inherited from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
One area of action in this regard was to create an enabling environment for Nigeria to participate in the knowledge economy in the face of dwindling and unstable income from the country’s primary resource – crude oil. Such an enabling environment requires a sound and solid intellectual property regime.
Thus the ministry spearheaded the development of a National Intellectual Property Policy for Nigeria, including the modernization of the legal framework to capture existing treaty obligations of Nigeria and help extend the coverage of the law to more recent developments. The ministry also spearheaded the modernization of the administrative regime for intellectual property in Nigeria.
The administrative framework for patents and designs was domiciled in the Commercial Law Department of the ministry but characterized by inordinate delays in processing of applications; poor or non-existent work processes; poor state of records which are not digitized leading to loss or destruction; and difficulties in accessing and retrieval of records.
This was what led to the creation of Project Pear with the objective of transforming each of the registries into an effective and efficient modern Intellectual Property Office consistent with good practices across the globe and the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government, particularly with respect to transparency and the acceleration of the approval processes.
FMITI mandate is founded on the following key pillars: Create an enabling environment for industry, trade and investment; implement the national industrial revolution plan; proactively attract long-term local and foreign direct investment; champion the cause of Nigeria’s MSMEs as a means of creating jobs and achieving inclusive growth; and foster the integration of Nigeria-based businesses into regional and global value chains.
- Alex Ekemenah