By Nicholas Dechi
Makurdi – The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), on Friday said it would support the Federal Government in its efforts to overcome its economic challenges.
Mr John Bakole, UNIDO Regional Director, made the promise in Makurdi at a two-day retreat organised by the organisation in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The retreat themed,“ Implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan through Industry, Trade and Investment”, was organised for the management staff of the ministry and its parastatals.
Bankole said that the organisation hoped to render its support by fashioning strategies that could be of great advantage to local investors.
He stressed that if the local investors invest heavily in the country’s economy it could be better for it.
He said that the advantages of having a greater number of investment in a particular country coming from the local investors far outweighed those of the foreign investors.
He further said that sooner or later economic zones would be established in the country in order to create massive job opportunities especially for the youths.
Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment said that there was an urgent need to drive structural economic transformation with emphasis on improving public sector efficiency.
Enelamah said that it was pertinent to reposition the ministry for efficient and effective implementation of its mandate in order to place the country on the path of growth and sustainable development.
`We must be courageous enough to take actions that will change the structure of the economy and make it more productive even in the way government business was conducted.’’
He said further that the ministry had a great role to play in the task of diversify the country’s economy.
He said this would be done through the creation of enabling environment that could facilitate infrastructural development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
”Also by proactively promoting local and foreign investment, facilitating local and international trade and strengthening ties with strategic development partners,” he said.
The Minister of State, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, urged the participants to come up with ideas and strategies that could accelerate the much needed development and economic growth in the country.
The Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment in Benue, Dr Tersoo Kpelai, said that the state government had set up an SMEs Development Agency in the state.
He said this agency had in turn established SMEs clinic and was currently training 500 youths on industrial skills.
”Money has been approved for the purchase of start up kits for trainees to be able to start up any trade of their choice,” he said.