30 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will be one of the most attractive and easiest places of doing business in the world by 2019.
Buhari, who was speaking at a plenary session on “Dialogue with the Private Sector” at the ongoing sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD VI), in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday, said his administration was implementing policies and measures to create the right environment for investors and businesses in Nigeria.
Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank, according to the Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business report.
President Buhari told the session, which was attended by several African leaders, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and international business executives that his administration’s vision and objective was to make Nigeria one of the top investment destinations in the world within the shortest possible time.
Buhari said, “We believe government has a particular responsibility to create the right and attractive environment for businesses and economic activities to thrive.
“In furtherance of this vision, we have launched the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEEC) and Inter-Ministerial Council to oversee the efforts of government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle businesses and economic activities and thereby create economic activities and the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria.
“The secretariat will include strong private sector representation that would be led by experienced business professionals from the private sector.
“We are committed to moving up the ranking of the World Bank’s ease of doing business index 20 places in the first year and be in the top 100 within the next three years,” he said, according to a statement by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Garba Shehu.
He further stated that the federal government will take concrete measures to diversify the economy by devoting more resources to agriculture in the 2017 budget, pointing out that African countries had a lot to learn from Japan in developing their agriculture.
“Japan has greatly advanced in technology, particularly in solar power, infrastructure to spur growth in medium and small-scale industries. Because of the advanced use of technology, farming and agriculture can become competitive,” he said.
The president, however, noted that Nigeria was making steady progress in agricultural development.
“This year, in Nigeria, we started an aggressive farming programme that entails organising farmers into cooperatives in the second and third tiers of government.
“We intend to put more resources in our 2017 budget, especially in the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilisers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers by farm extension instructors.
“We have already registered some success this year in a number of states; we identified some 13 states that will be self-sufficient in rice, wheat and grains before the end of 2018.
“We are very positive that soon, we will be able to export these food products. We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year,” President Buhari said.
On his expectation from TICAD, the president said Japan’s story of rapid economic growth, hard work and advanced technology should encourage Africans to strive harder and solve its development challenges.
“Japan has the knowledge, technology and capital to assist African countries to develop and Japanese firms are in a very good position to successfully compete for the development of infrastructure in Nigeria,” he added.