The Federal Government in collaboration with the European Union, German Development Cooperation (GIZ), has launched the Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP) to deepen economic diversification program in Nigeria.
Evelyn Nwachukwu, Director of Trade, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, speaking at the NICOP project launch on Friday in Abuja, said that export diversification and reduced reliance on oil revenue is essential for the achievement of sustained economic growth adding that as part of efforts towards sustainable development in nigeria, NICOP is currently providing support Small, Micro business for them to grow and move away from primary production.
She said, “In order to ensure sustainable economic growth,export must be sustantially diversified as Nigeria has adopted an economic and export diversification agenda”.
Evelyn speaking further explained that competitiveness of local private sector as well as favourable business climate is essential to promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, create jobs and fight against poverty adding that the NICOP project covers the tomato, pepper, ginger, leather and garment value chain.
“Taking into account competitiveness as a key driver to the growth and development of a sustainable economy in Africa, EU, GIZ will be implementing the NICOP in some selected value chain such as tomato, pepper,gingrr, garment and leather”.
Hans-Ludwig Bruns, GIZ country director, stressed that the overall objective of the program is to strengthen the competitiveness, improve the performance, growth and contribution to industry, regional trade and exports of selected value chains and improve the climate for business at national and regional levels. He said “The overall objectives of the program is to strengthen the competitiveness of the member countries of West Africa and enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system”.
“The NICOP is a four year project commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and co funded by the EU to assist micro, small and medium size enterprise, to add value to selected value chain in tomato,ginger, leather and garments”, he added.
Johnson Bareyei, representing the Director, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said that the project is in line with the nigeria economic recovery and growth plan adding that the objectives will enhance growth and economic diversification.
“The project which is an 11th European development fund initiative aligns with the Nigeria economic recovery and growth plan, considering it’s objectives which will enhance performance, growth and contribute to industry, as well as our aspirations for economic diversification and job creation”.
Speaking further, Bareyei urged participants to take the European Union’s intervention as an opportunity to demonstrate possibilities for adding value to the local made products and diversification for foreign exchange.