Presidency revives trade committees to boost investment

AgangaTHE Government yesterday took another major step to boost foreign direct investment.

The Presidency made the move, reviving two previously existing committees to facilitate trade and investment in the country.

The Doing Business and Competitiveness Committee, and the Committee on Investor-Care, which were inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan, have Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, as chair. The committees replaced previously existing Doing Business and Report Monitoring Review Committee, and the Committee on Problems of Investors.     Both committees had for years gone into limbo.

Inaugurating the committees on behalf of the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Pius Anyim Pius, pointed out that Nigeria was not doing well on the global doing business scores.

He stressed that government was keen on achieving a high level of competitiveness in doing business within and outside Nigeria as part of an effort towards the realisation of Vision 20:2020.

He went on:  “The mandates of the two committees as contained in the terms of reference are, among others, to monitor, review and recommend an improvement on existing policies and legislation governing the act of doing business in Nigeria. The committee on Investor-Care is, among others, to receive and appraise complaints on business/investment environment from investors. The membership of the two committees is drawn from ministries, extra- ministerial departments and agencies which have critical roles to play in meeting the objectives for which these committees are reconstituted to achieve.”

He charged the committees: “You are, therefore, to note that your appointment into the committees was based on merit and the role you are expected to play in making this country a business and investor-friendly one. I urge you to be guided by the terms of reference of the committees in carrying out the assignment, towards creating an enabling environment for trade and investment to flourish in a healthy and competitive manner. Given the importance attached to these committees, I also urge you to undertake this assignment diligently so as to demonstrate and reciprocate the confidence reposed in you.”

He said of the previous committees: “The committees in the past proved relevant and very effective as a number of administrative challenges being faced by investors and industries/business were effectively resolved thereby restoring investors’ confidence, enhancing national competitiveness, building synergy among Federal Government agencies and injecting needed investments into the economy.

“The need for resuscitation of the committees became more glaring after due consideration of the recently-released global competitiveness index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum, which ranked Nigeria as the 127 country out of 139 countries. It was also noted that Nigeria ranked poorly in all the 12 indicators known as pillars of competitiveness except with respect to its market size and business sophistication.

“In its 2010 World Investment Report (WIR), the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also ranked Nigeria as 93 out of 241 countries in inward FDI performance which is evident in the downward trend in inward FDI inflow from $6,814 million in 2008 to $5,851 million in 2009.”

Nigeria slipped further in the World Bank Global Doing Business Report 2012, as it ranked 133 out of 183 countries in the world.

Aganga thanked government for setting up the committees and reiterated the determination of his ministry to make the investment climate-friendly and make Nigeria the preferred destination of all foreign investors.

The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 183 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional levels.

By gathering and analysing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time, Doing Business encourages countries to compete towards more efficient regulation; offers measurable benchmarks for reform; and serves as a resource for academics, journalists, private sector researchers and others interested in the business climate of each country.


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