THE United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) yesterday announced partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to fashion out an agric-business policy for Nigeria.
It was learnt that the new policy would essentially assist Nigeria with a modern approach to developing agro industries. The initiative is coming at a time the country is battling with finding more creative means of reducing poverty level recently put at 71 per cent of the nation’s population.
The Deputy General of UNIDO, Tiazo Nishikwa who is visiting the government and the organised private sector on bilateral talks announced the partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
At a meeting with officials of the ministry in Abuja, the UNIDO chief stressed that the visit was part of the mandate of the organisation to assist developing countries to achieve sustainable development.
He said: “To do this, I think it is important to diversify the industry and that is something that we could assist the government of Nigeria in particular to achieve. This is something we are currently doing with the Ministry of Trade and Investment. It takes time, but we have been collaborating with Nigeria since 1966, more than 40 years. We have gradually been seeing the result.”
The UNIDO Representative in Nigeria, Patrick Kormawa, stressed that over $30 million had been spent on various UNIDO projects in Nigeria in the last few years.
His words: “We have been assisting this country with workable policies because without policies, you cannot develop your industries. We have also helped in the area of institutional capacity building, which means helping even the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to train people in specific areas that are necessary to support the implementation of those programmes. At the state level, we have implemented certain programmes to help the young people train in ICT and in businesses. They are now setting up their own businesses and employing people.”
Stressing the place of off grid energy in industrial development, Kormawa called for greater attention to be paid on rural electrification. “Without energy, you cannot reach the rural areas to set up rural infrastructure, rural industries. That is one area we have been very active,” he noted.
Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom, who spoke to newsmen after the meeting, said the minister had commissioned experts to work with UNIDO on the draft agro business policy for the consideration of the Federal Government.
He said: “UNIDO is a partner with us in industrial development. Yesterday, through their relationship with us, we launched a book on agric business. We are not just looking at farming in Nigeria, we are also looking at agric as a business. This is one way that they can assist us technically with the knowledge and we are going to practicalise it. The book was launched yesterday and we are looking forward to partnering with them to see how best we can improve on industrial development in Nigeria. Already, there are a lot of things that we are doing together to see how our moribund industries can be revived and how new jobs can be created so that we take care of our teeming youths.”