By-Muhammad Sabiu , Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari, over the weekend, said his administration is determined to boost the economy and create jobs.
He gave the assurance at the opening of the 44th Kaduna International trade fair, which kicked off in Kaduna at the end.
According to Buhari, the government is committed to improving agriculture to boost the economy and create jobs.
The President, who is being represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Mahmud, at the trade fair which is being organised by the Kaduna State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), said the government would continue empowering businesses, especially Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as promote trade and investment to achieve economic sustainability and reduce dependency on foreign products.
Also speaking, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adebayo Adeniyi, said the theme of the fair, ‘Promoting Value Addition for Sustainable Growth and Development is in tune with the federal government’s empowerment initiative of bridging technological gaps and developing locally.
He, however, described KADCCIMA as one of the vibrant chambers of commerce that has leveraged its members and institutional support to build a reputation for excellence in commerce, adding, “Your partnership with government has transformed the industrial landscape of the city for the benefit of your members and the Nigerian economy.”
The Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-rufa’i who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology, Dr. Yusuf Sale encouraged prospective investors to feel free to come to Kaduna for their investment and urged the chamber to extend the use of its facility beyond annual trade fair events.
“I wish to call on KADCCIMA to continue to educate their members and our local investors to leverage on the collective services of the chambers and the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Kaduna Inland Dry Port in attaining smooth haulage of their goods devoid of cumbersome processes and risks”, he said.
The President of the chamber, Alhaji Suleiman, noted that only high-value addition culture and great capacity utilisation would push Nigeria to a favourable position within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He then stressed the need for Nigeria to be increasingly innovative and promote a high level of value addition ‘as most of the countries involved in the trade agreement have similar products and resources.’
According to him, “The combined effect of the Ukraine war, the inflationary pressures in G-7 countries and the high-interest rates engineered by central banks across the world will negatively impact on the landed cost of industrial inputs needed by the real sector and in particular by SMEs in Nigeria.
It is to be noted that the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that about 25.3 million people will face food insecurity across Nigeria between June and August 2023 with 17 million people in the country already facing a food crisis as of October 2022. These include IDPs and returnees in 26 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.