The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, on Tuesday called for active collaboration between businesses and the government.
He noted that the long-term objective of nation building can only take place when there is synergy between the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
“Nation building is collective and a long-term process that needs to be approached with humility by all involved,” Enelamah said when he hosted members of the OPS, led by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Abuja. “For that to happen, there needs to be active collaboration between businesses and the government.”
The business leaders who were at the headquarters of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to present a report on the country’s maritime ports, commended the minister for his commitment towards making Nigeria a better place to do business.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Paul Ruwase, appreciated the minister for his sustained intervention across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to make industries and the economy operate more efficiently.
“As the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), your efforts over the last few years on ease of doing business is noteworthy and this is beginning to yield positive results,” Ruwase told the minister. “For instance, the World Bank Annual Ease of Doing Business report show that Nigeria moved by 24 points from 169th in 2016 to 145th in 2017 out of 185 countries ranked.”
The report entitled, “Nigeria: Reforming the maritime ports”, was a collaborative effort led by the LCCI with support from the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
There were also contributions from the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), and the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI).
The report, which acknowledged ongoing reform measures currently being implemented by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the ports, outlined some ports reform measures that yielded positive outcomes in other countries, and then suggested short, medium and long-term measures to reposition Nigeria’s maritime ports.
“We believe that the success of the ongoing reforms in the port is largely predicated on the buy-in of all stakeholders, political will of the presidency and PEBEC through active and sustained enforcement, monitoring and sanctions when necessary,” the LCCI president said.
In his response, the minister thanked the team for their efforts in preparing and investing on the report. Enelamah told them that the government is committed to ports reforms and that “Trading Across Borders” is a key plank of PEBEC’s reform efforts.
He reiterated his consistent position that the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry is, indeed, a ministry of enabling environment. He also assured the stakeholders that the government will study the submitted report and take necessary actions.
“We want this engagement between the government and the private sector to continue. There needs to be an active collaboration and we are here to help,” he said.