The 26th Nigerian Economic Summit pre-summit events will help to shape strategic partnerships to chart a path to recovery and build resilience for the country’s economy, businesses and households by delivering conversations that will put Nigeria in a strong position within the changing world order. It is on this premise that the first #NES26 pre-summit event with the theme “Rethinking Approaches to Agribusiness Ecosystem in Nigeria” took place on the 25th of August 2020.
While delivering the opening remarks, the CEO of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola said that this NES#26 presummit event was borne out of a partnership between the NESG, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Alliance for a green revolution in Africa (AGRA) and it has become apparent that Nigeria must seize the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to deepen and rethink its approach to the Agribusiness ecosystem and the agricultural value chain in general for the transformation of the agricultural industry.
Furthermore, Mr. Jaiyeola stated that “Agribusiness plays an important role in the agricultural transformation process by providing forward and backward linkages to other economic sectors of development. Nigeria’s Agricultural sector is the largest employer of labour, as it employs more than one-third (36.7%) of the Nigerian labour force, the highest over the past 28 years (1991- 2019). Nigeria’s Agribusiness Ecosystem provides potential investments opportunity which can be aided by the provision of the necessary policy and regulatory frameworks that will ensure inclusiveness, scalability, and viability.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Muazu Abdulkadir said that the government is promoting the ease of doing business by investing in infrastructure in rural areas to help smallholder farmers get their produce to the market. He stated that the ministry is focusing on innovation, technology, and the promotion of agricultural investment in Nigeria in a way that is beneficial to the country. More so, Dr. Abdulkadir said that the government signed a law to open up lands and attract youths to farming and that the ministry is looking into providing the infrastructure; and they will continue to work with financial institutions to provide loans for youths interested in farming.
During the panel session, Director, investment promotion at the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Mr. Adeshina Emmanuel revealed that the NIPC grants incentives including a 100 percent tax holiday between 3 to 5 years to investors in the agricultural industry and that the finance act also grants tax waivers to agricultural businesses. He mentioned that the NIPC tracks investment announcements and that they have so far tracked US$230 million foreign investment announcement for Nigeria this year and that efforts are being made to translate the announcement to actual investments.
Head of partnership at AGRA, Ms. Jennifer Baarn stated that AGRA continues to find ways to connect everyone putting into consideration the need for active collaboration between everyone in the agribusiness value chain and that AGRA continues to engage with stakeholders and investors on risk management.
A representative of the Director-general of the Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Ms. Victoria Akai, Ms. Tinuke Temitope said that the ACCI continues to ensure that there is proper dissemination of information and active participation of stakeholders during agricultural policy development and implementation.
The head of Agribusiness at Sterling Bank Plc, Ms. Bukola Awosanya revealed that Agriculture is a business estimated to be a US$1 trillion industry in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2030 and that Agribusiness is the value chain that links production, processing, and the end-user. She stated that “Agriculture is a viable business and that Sterling Bank continues to provide financial support across the Agribusiness to all levels including smallholder farmers and 10 percent of our loan books goes to the Agriculture sector.”
While delivering the closing remarks, the moderators of the session, Mr. David Adama and Mr. Valentine Miheso both of AGRA said that the #NES26 pre-summit events are important as they provide an opportunity for the public and private sector and other stakeholders to form partnerships for economic development.
The 26th Nigerian Economic Summit will be the highpoint of a ‘Big Conversation for Action’ driven by pre-Summit events. These virtual events will kickstart discussions on this year’s Summit Theme and will enable us to convene a wider range of stakeholders to deliberate on a broad set of thematic and sectoral issues with key outcomes.
The theme of this year’s Summit is “Building Partnerships for Resilience” and it is scheduled to hold from October 26 – 27, 2020. Discussions at NES #26 will be anchored on three pillars – Collaboration, Execution, and Impact – and dimensioned across five sub-themes: Mapping the Future; New Trends, New Opportunities, New Horizons; Embracing Technology and Innovation; Building Resilience and Charting the Path to Recovery.