Whilst she was inaugurating the Preparatory Committee for Nigeria’s participation at the upcoming Special Edition of the Trade Fair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States earlier today, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar pointedly charged the Committee members to seek to go exhibit the best of what could portray Nigeria in good light before the World, at the Trade Fair and not what could detract from the worth of the Country. “Showcase our strength and not our weaknesses; seek to go exhibit the best of Made in Nigeria Products …”, the Honourable Minister charged.
Nigeria is being prepared to participate in the exceptional edition of Trade Fair of the OIC member States, scheduled to hold in Kuwait City, State of Kuwait from 6th to 10th February, 2018.
The Preparatory Committee which was inaugurated today, 16th January, 2017 comprised of the agencies and officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and its Lead Agencies such as the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission(NIPC), Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA), Bank of Industry(BOI), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and some Private sector organizations in the Industry, Trade and Investment sector.
Others include Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. However, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is to be the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee as well as be the Secretariat.
Hajia Abubakar explained why Nigeria should put its best foot forward at the oncoming event in Kuwait as not only by virtue of her being a member State, but also because of the economic gains and the opportunity for the country to showcase Made in Nigerian products and goods. As well, the Minister wants the country to be able to showcase her investment opportunities to other 56 member States of the OIC and particularly the state of Kuwait that deliberately made its foremost national trade fair (Kuwait International Trade Fair) to coincide with the OIC fair in February.
Hajia Aisha Abubakar told the Committee members that being one of the goals of the organization to promote trade among member nations, OIC has established various measures to spur and kick-start economic developments of member States. The Honourable Minister gave example of the new ten years’ programme of the OIC (TYPOA/2016-2023); the Trade preferential system (TPS-OIC) and the proposed Single Window Platform among OIC member States. As the Minister highlighted, OIC has hoped to use these economic frameworks to among others, increase production and competitiveness of products in member States and ultimately boost the volume of OIC trade by 2023.
The Honourable Minister listed the terms of reference for the Preparatory Committee to include:
• Packaging Nigeria’s participation in such a manner to reflect our modest achievements in different sectors and subsectors of the economy;
• Develop Nigeria’s theme statement to reflect our areas of comparative advantage at the fair;
• Showcase our abundant investment opportunities in some specific sectors such as Business Process Outsourcing, Light Manufacturing, Automotive Industry, etc;
• Devise a means within the programmes and side events of the fair where Nigeria Private Investors and relevant Government Organizations could relate on Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to Government (B2G) basis to share experiences and gain from current trends in the business and technology world; and
• Develop a modest budget and find a means of raising the necessary funds to execute Nigeria’s participation.
She therefore, admonished the Preparatory Committee to ensure that Nigeria joins other member States to seize the opportunity created by the Trade Fair to diversify our economy away from crude oil as she said, “This is in line with the present administration’s determination to reform the economy and attain a diversified, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development that will attract Foreign Direct Investment; Create jobs and ensure Nigeria takes its rightful place in the comity of nations.
Earlier in the programme, Yusuf Ibrahim who was the Acting Director of Trade of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, gave a brief background of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), said it was founded in 1969 with 57 member States with Nigeria as a member. Yusuf further said OIC’s membership cuts across Arica, Europe and Asia, with the main goal of promoting international peace and harmony as well as the well-being of member States.
Other Directors of the Ministry who contributed to discussions during the inauguration, sought that the Preparatory Committee should widen the scope of its recommendations to include those who need to go the Kuwait’s OIC Trade Fair to get Industry, Trade and Investment statistics. They also want the Committee to make it possible for Investment and Commercial Officers of the Ministry to get to the Trade Fair.
When he was giving his own remark at the end of the inauguration of the Preparatory Committee, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan pledged to ensure that the Ministry avails the Committee all that it may require to do a good job with the terms of reference given to it.
For: Deputy-Director, Press
Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment.