Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo on Thursday declared that the Federal Government’s diversification agenda was achieving positive results with the recent growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) largely driven by the non-oil sectors.
In his address at the second Andersen Africa-Europe Bridge Conference held virtually, he said, “As you are aware, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a steadily growing GDP of over $500bn, GDP per capita is expected to reach $2300 by the end of 2021. This is over 84% higher than the Africa average.
“Despite the view that Nigeria’s economy has historically been driven by oil, recent growth has been driven primarily by the non-oil sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications, entertainment, and of course agriculture. This shows that our diversification agenda is working.”
This year’s Africa-Europe Sustainable Development Bridge Conference centred policy and its economic effects on agribusiness in various countries.
Though the Minister noted that last year was a difficult year for all economies, he said the country’s economy was getting back strong and open for business with the investment climate improving.
“In the first half of this year, investment announcements were at $10.1 billion, an increase of 100% in 2020. Investors from places as diverse as Europe, China, Morocco, and the UK are making strong commitments and this administration is working tirelessly to ensure that these commitments turn into ventures, enterprises, and businesses that positively impact our nations,” he said.
He announced the implementation of the ministry’s backward integration programme across key selected priority products, namely palm oil, sugar, cassava starch, cotton textiles and garments, saying the government was prepared to collaborate with investors to achieve its mandate.
For palm oil, Adebayo said there was a domestic market opportunity of about USD1 billion which potential investors could take advantage of.
On cassava starch, he said while Nigeria remains the largest producer in the world, the Minister said a significant domestic supply gap existed with more than 95% of cassava starch still being imported.
He said the government focus was on bringing in large scale investors to bridge the gap and increase production of cassava starch.
Speaking on cotton, the Minister told the gathering that the government strategy was to leverage on the special economic zones for garment production for both local market and export.
He declared that the government was committed to the establishment of special agro-processing zones across the country so as to reduce post-harvest losses, increase value addition to farmers and enhance rural employment.
According to him, the government was partnering with the African Development Bank to achieve its goals in this regard adding that the Ministry would be willing to collaborate with potential partners in different areas of this project.
“Similarly, we aim to build at least one agro-processing facility in each of the country’s 109 senatorial district by leveraging available government funding and exploring innovative financing methods such as public-private-partnership and grants
“Nigeria’s agribusiness sector is full of opportunities across multiple value chains, especially in the area of processing. The outlook report from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that the sector will undergo robust growth projected to rise 30% between 2018 and 2028,” he stressed