The United States Agency for International Development Nigeria (USAID | NIGERIA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is currently implementing the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport (NEXTT) Project, which is expected to promote investments, trade, and the economic well – being of Nigerians.
Executive Secretary, NIPC, Mrs. Uju Aisha Hassan Baba said the project is an integrated approach to economically develop the Lagos – Kano – Jibiya otherwise known as (LAKAJI) Corridor of eight contiguous states by promoting investments in agro business that will gulp approximately $55 million.
She explained that the project advocates for business friendly policies along the Corridor, and supporting the development of infrastructure along the Corridor.
She said: “Since the inception of NEXTT Project’s in 2013, USAID has been working closely with NIPC in a symbiotic manner with respect to goals and aspirations of the two organisations.
“Over the next four years, the NEXTT Project is expected to leverage on both the past and current efforts toward realising the following outcomes.”
According Hassan Baba, they include “$25 million in new investments in projects along the LAKAJI corridor; a 30per cent reduction in transport costs as well as the number of days of moving goods along the LAKAJI corridor; dynamic trade policy coordination mechanisms that integrate public and private sector priorities into a strategic framework for engagement with trading partners.”
She observed that “modernisation of customs procedures and systems with a view to meeting international standards for agricultural goods; and $30 million additional exports for strategic positioning of Nigerian exporters through export promotion institutions and industry groups.”
To that end, the executive secretary of NIPC also approved the posting of one NIPC management staff, Mr. Aminu Takuma to the NEXTT project in Abuja office to provide technical assistance for the success of the project. In order to realise the partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding between the USAID NEXTT and NIPC is underway and will soon be signed once the drafts are Okayed by the two organisations.”
She stressed that the NEXTT Projects have the approvals of the federal government. She said prior to these projects, USAID have been making efforts in the area of Maximising Agriculture Revenue in Key Enterprise and Target Sites (MARKETS) Project, and the Nigeria Expanded Exports Program (NEEP), in order to stimulate investment in trade- related infrastructure and services, reform trade policies and procedures, and the improvement of Nigerian firms position in global and regional markets.
“By integrating the two agencies respective operations, and signing of the expected MoU, the NEXTT project would be able to deepen the relationship with the NIPC, particularly with respect to capacity building. The project would further closely engage NIPC Zonal offices in Kano and Ibadan with a view to strengthening NIPC’s investment promotion efforts along the LAKAJI Corridor.”
Hassan Baba stated that in addition, “NEXTT would like to further the development of the LAKAJI Corridor concept through closer relationships with the Private Sector and Government and with the deployment to the project, Mr. Takuma is expected to carry on his current duties and responsibilities, as many of them are complimentary to NEXTT activities.”
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