Business Hilights
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FG dumps ease of doing business, targets fiscal policies to protect investors

Strong indications emerged weekend suggesting apparent abandonment of the campaign for the growth of ease of doing business and greater emphasis on deploying fiscal policies that protect emerging industries and encourage investments in critical sectors of the economy.
Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who addressed the opening session of the 4th ECOWAS Finance Ministers’ Meeting on the consolidation of ECOWAS Customs Union in Abuja, averred that “Nigeria will continue to deploy fiscal policies to support or protect emerging industries, encourage investment in critical sectors, and promote local production.
Business Hilights recalls that since the flag off of the Ease of Doing Business campaign using a number of Executive Orders, Nigeria’s global rating s on the segment has been going back and forth meaning that not much has been achieved after all.
In a statement issued by the Media Adviser to the Finance Minister, Mr Paul Abechi, government said “This is with a view to achieving the effective implementation of the country’s Agricultural Promotion Policy and the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan within the transitional period of five years of implementation.”
The minister noted further that “Like every developing economy, Nigeria’s vision to industrialise is very strong, and this underscores why government is taking proactive steps to reduce the country’s dependence on imports.
“We believe ECOWAS Common External Tariff should be designed to promote regional industrialisation in a manner that on the long term reduces dependence on imports.
“We will continue to work within ECOWAS to achieve these laudable objectives. Nigeria believes fervently that ECOWAS regional policies such as the CET, the customs union and other fiscal policies should aim seriously at achieving economic growth and industrialisation for member states, while reducing import dependency.”
While stressing that economies of scale from successful economic integration should serve as catalysts for economic development of the region, Mrs. Ahmed made it clear that “Nigeria, as a nation believes that West Africa, while desiring integration into the global economy, should diversify its economy through manufacturing, processing of primary products and other forms of economic modernization”.