The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, has said that the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to take at least 100 million Nigerians out of poverty cannot happen overnight but will take some time to happen. Adebayo, who was reacting to journalists’ questions at the presentation of the scorecard of the administration in the area of trade and investments since coming into office in 2015, said that the level of poverty that the Buhari administration met on inception office, was widespread and also requires some strong economic policies and programmes to make the necessary impact. The minister said that even though millions of Nigerians have been taken out of poverty through the various economic policies and programmes initiated by the administration, many Nigerians were still gripped by poverty but would gradually be taken out.
Chief Adebayo said “with regards to that question of 133 million being multidimensionally poor despite President Buhari’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, I want to say that Rome was not built in a day. This is because as we all know, President Buhari came and identified a very serious problem and has tried to find a solution to it. This administration has started finding a solution to the poverty level it met on the ground. We are growing higher GDP more than even some advanced economies of the world. So, this administration is working in the right direction in terms of good policies and programmes it has put in place. We believe strongly that with the expected growth will come employment that will take more and more Nigerians out of poverty as promised by Mr. President”. The minister said that under his watch, Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the development and export of non-oil products, which are currently doing very well in the international market.
He minister listed some of the products that have boosted Nigeria’s exports to include ginger, sesame seeds, urea fertiliser and hibiscus. “You will be amazed that with regards to non-oil products exports, we are doing very well especially in agricultural products. For instance, ginger and sesame were our largest-selling non-oil export. These are products that very popular especially in Europe. Another product that has overtaken the two of them now, is urea fertiliser which has become the largest selling non-oil product internationally. However, we continue to try to market more of our products ready and available in the international market despite many challenges. For instance, Nigeria was the largest exporter of hibiscus to Mexico because they use it in their pharmaceuticals and for drinks. But because we had quality issue, they stopped importing from Nigeria. This was why we reviewed our standards to improve the quality of our export products to meet international standards. We are doing very well in this regards, which is why there is an increase in the level of our non-oil exports.
“It is not true that Nigeria’s exports are credited to other African countries. It is fake news. You will be surprised that the amount of export from Nigeria compared to what is coming from Ghana is almost four or five times the size of what goes out from Ghana. Social media has a way of coming out with stories that are not verified or verifiable. I can assure you that the figure we have shows that exports from Nigeria are credited to Nigeria and we are making the requisite revenues from those exports. On what the ministry is doing to ensure that agricultural produce get to where they are mostly needed on time without perishing, Chief Adebayo, said that the government had begun arrangements with the African Development to set up agro-processing facilities for that purpose.
The minister said “we do not only want to export our produce but we also want to add value to the produce before exporting them. That is why we have embarked on the building of agro-processing centres in the country. We have gone into partnership with the African Development Bank which is funding the various states with regards to setting up special large scale agro processing zones. And, as a ministry, we have embarked on setting up small and medium scale processing zones in various states with a view to harnessing the produce that cannot get into the market. We take them to the processing centres for storage for processing for export”.