Nigeria is set to establish
a match-making data base for international business interconnectivity and stress-free investments, says Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
Onyeama told newsmen in Abuja last Monday that the 119 Nigeria missions abroad would serve as one-stop shops to spur investments through information sharing and elimination of bottlenecks.
He said the initiative would enable Nigeria’s products and investors to access the world market easily and also enable foreign investors have unfettered access to informed and genuine information concerning business opportunities in Nigeria.
The minister explained that the scheme would be implemented through a matching-making data base aimed at promoting exports and enhancing the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
According to Onyeama, the design is an economic diplomacy which is a framework to address the severe economic challenges facing Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria has representations in 119 countries and the ministry could leverage on the advantage to deliver concrete economic benefit to the nation.
“It is a pet project. It is a matching making data base for our Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export promotion.
“So this data base will essentially enable any Nigerian business to upload to our data base that could be managed from Foreign Affairs together with the ministry of trade and investment,” he said. He said all the information needed about what they want to export and investment types would be readily available in all the119 countries where Nigeria has presence.
“I felt that when we have presence in 119 countries it is fantastic advantage to push Nigerian products and businesses in 119 countries.
“So we would like to present a one-stop shop to export Nigerian goods.
“And that whenever any business is uploaded in each of their countries they have to seek for partners and match that business person with a partner in that country to put in places a business agreement,” he explained.
The minister said he would like same be done in inversely and conversely, so that any foreigner who wants to get involve in business in Nigeria not knowing the country can also upload on the data base. According to him, such people can access all the information about what they might want to deal in and we together with ministry of trade will match them with Nigerian businesses. Besides, he said the scheme would also save Nigerian businessmen from going through all kinds of bottlenecks and paying all kinds of fees in foreign countries.
“We feel it that way because we have a lot bottlenecks in a lot of Nigerian businessmen trying to do business outside the country, so many bottlenecks.
“So if we can provide them a very simple access what we call it is market access.
“We have the markets in all these countries, so that our business people and traders have the world at their finger-tips,” he said.
Onyeama said that his ministry was also looking at how to utilise the same method to attract more FDI into Nigeria.
He said that Nigerians in the Diaspora would also be able to utilise the data base to search for partners in Nigeria and other countries.
Expert Wants State Of Emergency In Housing Sector
The Chief Executive of Fesadeb Communications Limited, Mr Festis Adebayo, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the housing sector to address effects of population growth.
Adebayo, who was the convener of the just-concluded 13th Abuja International Housing Show, made the call in Abuja.
According to him, the population of the country is growing at a geometric rate, while the government is working at arithmetic progression.
He said the Federal Government’s efforts could not match the country’s population growth rate.
“The 18 million deficit cannot still be same, everyday we are increasing in number without increasing in ideas, policies and political will.
“The government should declare state of emergency in the area of housing; you cannot be selling cement for N2,500 and then ask one to deliver a house for two million naira.
“The cost of building is very high, so government should act now before it will be late, “ said.
Adebayo said that government should not be involved in building houses, but it should come up with policies that would encourage people to invest in the sector.
He advised relevant authorities to focus more on what is called “Rental Housing Scheme’’ which he defined as “own and pay accordingly” .
Adebayo also called on the government to ban importation of building materials to encourage the use of local materials.
The Tide that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, had advised Nigeria to address its housing problem during her visit to the country. According to her, the United Nations estimates that Nigeria’s population will double by 2050 to around 400 million people to make it the world’s third-largest nation after India and China.
She said that there was lack of adequate housing in a country where most inhabitants lived on less than two dollars a day in spite of being Africa’s largest economy.
S’Africa APC Moves To Tackle Nigeria’s Housing Challenges
The South African Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to solve problems of housing, healthcare and energy in the country.
The group, in a letter addressed to the President and jointly signed by Mr Bola Babarinde and Prof. Folorunso Fasina, respectively, said these were critical issues demanding urgent attention of the President.
A copy of the letter, titled “On the National Question: Critical Issues Demanding Urgent Attention of Mr President,” was made available to The Tide last Monday.
The group, which expressed pleasure in meeting with the President during his visit to South Africa, said that the low income earners and civil servants were hardly remembered by developers of mass housing schemes in the country.
“The issues of affordability hampers ordinary citizens from access to good housing and a recent research done for Niger State shows that most civil servants die a few years after retirement from active service.
“Life after service is hard because things change sharply post-retirement, including housing. The Diaspora can assist in the provision of quality and affordable housing for the low to middle income earners, particularly civil servants.
“Using modern technologies, we can provide housing solution through mortgage financing supported by single digit interest rates. Workers will have between 15 and 25 years to repay, depending on the years of service left.
“It will be credit to this government to provide housing solution and reduce the suffering of the people,” the group said.
On the health sector, the group said that the country was not doing well taking into consideration the flight of medical personnel and the amount spent on medical tourism to countries like India, South Africa, Egypt and UK.
The group said that Nigerians in Diaspora, especially professionals in South Africa, were ready to partner the government at various levels on healthcare (primary, secondary and tertiary) to confront the health issues.
They said that this would also include mentorship of young medical personnel, exposure to the state- of-art-equipment, information exchange and sustainable, but affordable medical missions and training.
The group added that infrastructure including roads, water, school buildings, hostels accommodation and other facilities also needed attention of the government.
Niger Earmarks Land For 200 Housing Units
The Niger State Government has provided land for the construction of 200 housing units to reduce the burden of accommodation among residents.
Managing Director, Happy Home Builders Nigeria Ltd, Mr Lukman Komolafe, disclosed this last Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the project was part of efforts by the state government to address the housing needs of residents of the state.
Komolafe said that the project, which started early in the year, would range from two bedroom bungalows to two bedroom compacts.
He said that the houses located along Madalla-Abuja road in Suleja would be completed by the end of the year.
According to him, the company was involved in building some housing units for cooperatives and groups in the state as part of effort towards addressing housing deficit.
Komolafe said that the company was known for its adequate and timely delivery of service.
“We are known for our excellence and professionlism with lot of commitment,” he said.
Komolafe said that housing was a crucial basic needs of every human being and so needed to be addressed urgently.
The housing estate which is an initiative of the Suleja Local Government Council and fully supported by the Niger State Government sits on 33.4 hectares of land with 371 number of plots with an average size of 450 square meters.
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