Africa must redefine business methods – Shettima

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Africa must redefine business methods by shifting focus to competitive value-added goods that meet international standards, to perform substantially in global value chains and generate more foreign exchange.

The Vice-President, Senator Kashim Shettima, stated this at the Business Day’s Africa Trade and Investment Summit, with the theme, “Reimagining Economic Growth in Africa, at the Eko Hotel and Suite, Lagos, underscoring the need to exploit agribusiness potential through intra-African trade, which holds immense benefits for economic growth.

Represented by the Special Adviser to the President on the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the Vice-President said, “We must also improve our logistics and strategically finance and invest in infrastructure which would foster economic growth, industrial development and regional integration”.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria was fully committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and a space for innovation and creativity enabled by transparency and efficiency of public service delivery, as well as provide legislative reforms, so that businesses can focus more on doing business.

Speaking during a panel discussion, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, said his administration’s innovative policies and reforms aimed at attracting investors, leveraging its competitive and comparative advantages, conducive environment, as well as facilitative business atmosphere had made the state the preferred investment destination in Nigeria.

He disclosed that the Economic Development Clusters initiative was to reduce costs for companies through private sector investments in essential facilities like power, water, security and waste management, while the ongoing Agro-Cargo Airport would enhance logistics.

Governor Abiodun, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, underscored the importance of creating an enabling environment where companies could produce at the lowest cost, stimulate employment and capacity development, saying the state’s bordering proximity to three other states, grants access to the West-Africa market, thereby, solidifying its status as the largest industrial hub in Nigeria, with three free trade zones and numerous industrial estates.

“In addressing bottlenecks and red tape, we established the Business Environment Council, which aims to streamline processes and enhance efficiency when dealing with the private sector. The creation of the Public-Private Partnership Office provides a regulatory framework for private-sector relationships. Furthermore, the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency serves as a one-stop shop, facilitating seamless interactions for businesses interested in land acquisition, fee payments and more”, he said.

The state’s helmsman stated that the introduction of the Small and Medium Enterprise and Industrial Land Acquisition Scheme (SILAS), was to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing collateral for securing land at reduced costs and fees, aimed at stimulating job creation for the youths, while addressing challenges of land acquisition.

Contributing, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, noted that Nigeria was working towards being the most preferred country in Africa for the creative economy, technology research and development, energy transition, adding that the Committee would fast-track the process through fiscal governance, revenue transformation, inclusive economic growth and competitiveness.

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