Nigeria – Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment – Blue Print on Foreign Direct Investment.
“Key to the new direction is a focus on economic growth through enhanced generation of national and social wealth through greater export and import substitution”.
A NEW economic plan that would lay out the framework for the harmonisation of Nigeria’s enormous
potentials, key areas that local and foreign investors could take advantage of and how government
would utilise these to drive the economy is under way. The Ministry of Trade and Investment is
also working out an arrangement with manufactures in the country to remove the obstacles that
hinder their operations. Key to the new direction is a focus on economic growth through enhanced
generation of national and social wealth through greater export and import substitution.
The government says that it is also working towards enhanced capacity for value addition leading to
industrialisation and employment opportunities by promoting private sector investment through the
creation of an enabling environment that would engender efficiency, productivity and profitability.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, who stated this at a retreat for the management
staff of the ministry and agencies under it in Abuja yesterday, stressed that the new Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) plan would emphasis the development of seven key sectors of the economy owing
to their potentials as the major drivers of economic growth and development.
The focus, he said, would be on agriculture, water resources, solid minerals, manufacturing, oil and
gas trade and commerce as well as culture and tourism.
Also, mixed reactions trailed the new cash withdrawal and lodgment policy of the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN) yesterday in Lagos, where the bank’s Deputy Governor in charge of Operations, Tunde
Lemo, justified the initiative.
In a presentation on the policy at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Stakeholder’s
forum yesterday in Lagos, Lemo stressed that it would eventually boost the real sector of the
economy and create jobs, as it would greatly reduce banks’ cost of operation by at least 30 per cent.
And, experts have expressed concern over the large quantum of the nation’s wealth being spent
without the corresponding value addition to the lives of the citizenry.
This came as Director-General, Due Process Office, Emeka Ezeh, disclosed that the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) last year awarded various contracts worth N1.253 trillion.
In the same year, the sum of N2.137 trillion was reserved for recurrent spending, while capital vote for
Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) was put at N1.425 trillion.
The figures were contained in an executive summary of approved contracts for the year, released in
Abuja by Ezeh, whose office is also charged with the task of issuing guidelines and approval for the
awards of contracts as well as certificates to contractors to claim their monies for jobs done
Ezeh said: “The Ministry of Power has the highest number of awarded contracts (50), which
constitutes 24.8 per cent of the total contracts, followed by the Federal Capital Territory, FCT (26)
constituting 13.4 per cent; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (18) constituting 8.9 per
cent; Federal Ministry of Works (12) constituting 5.9 per cent; and Ministry of Petroleum Resources
(11) constituting 5.4 per cent.
“The Federal Ministries of Commerce and Industry; Information and Communications and Police
Affairs each had only one contract awarded. Others were the Federal Road Safety
(FRSC) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Code of Conduct Bureau and the Debt
“The total awarded contract sum is N1,007,356,864,966.97 plus $1,327,502,580.35 plus Euro
187,947,921.15 and Pound Sterling 3,388,633.52. The total contract sum for the awarded contracts in
Naira was N1,253,108,677,465.97 (at the exchange rate of N153.03; N251.27 and N222.15 to a
dollar; British Pound Sterling and Euro respectively,” Ezeh further revealed in the publication.
But a professor of Finance and Accounting, who is a Visiting Professor at the National Universities
Commission, Prof. Herbert Wilson said there was no tangible evidence to indicate that N1.253
trillion was approved and had be deployed in the country.
Wilson said: “One noticeable or tangible effect of public capital expenditure is the number of jobs
created there-from. Nigerians are tired of hearing of billions of naira contract awards that add little or
no value to their lives or wellbeing.
“Had electricity supply improved as a consequence of the awards, Nigerians won’t mind the cost
The new CBN policy stated, among others, that a fee of N100 and N200 per thousand would be
charged with effect from June 2012 on cash withdrawals from banks above N150,000 by individuals
and one million naira by corporate organizations respectively.
It also stated that third party cheques above N150,000 shall not be eligible for encashment over the
counter, even as banks would enjoy subsidy on daily cash deposit and withdrawal up to N150,000
from individuals and one million naira from companies.
In pursuit of the policy, which would be effective from June 2012, Lemo said commercial banks would
cease to go and collect cash from merchant customers as they currently do as a way of assistance
under the cash-in-transit lodgement scheme.
“There will be massive deployment of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sales (POS)
machines, for ease of financial transactions, he added.
The POS, Lemo assured, would be made to accept all cards, rather than the prevailing situation
where different cards are used by different people depending on the bank of choice.
He stated further that a nationwide enlightenment campaign would trail the policy, with practical
training where possible.
While some stakeholders, like the Executive Director, Valucard, Mr. Agada Abochi, the Chief
Executive officer of EASYFUEL, Mr. Tayo Olajide and an official of First Bank Plc, Mr. Richard
Ogunmodede, all endorsed the initiative, some other stakeholders believed it is untimely, even if it is
President-General, Ladipo Market Association, Daniel Nwafor, said the policy “will kill business. It will
create serious problem for us in the market. For instance, an importer who delivers a N2 million worth
of ‘Tokunbo’ vehicles to you and wants to quickly travel back wants his cash immediately or you lose
“People who supply us through warehouses may start to accept cheque, but not those who sell to us
daily and those who buy from us daily. It is either cash or there is no business.”
An official of the National Freight Forwarders Association, Mrs. E.M. Odunjo, said: “As much as we
appreciate CBN’s good intention, transporters insist on cash for their transactions. And we are talking
of cash running into millions, for instance, if you want to load 20 to 30 lorries with goods.”
An official of a Bureau De Change, simply identified as Mr. Balogun, identified illiteracy as a major
His words: “CBN should partner with us so that we can educate our members on the policy. Illiteracy
and Trust are serious issues we have to consider.”
A lawyer, who also spoke on the issue stressed the imperative of a legal framework, just as a lady
who simply identified herself as Bola Shobowale stressed the need to tackle the country’s
A member of the LCCI, Mr. Abimbola Onafowokan, also canvassed incentives for firms who invest in
technology to drive the policy.
Earlier at the forum, LCCI President, Femi Deru, who was represented by the Deputy President, Mr.
Goodie Ibru, lauded the Apex Bank for its efforts at repositioning the economy.
He described the forum as a unique opportunity to chart the way forward for the policy