Nigeria has identified security challenges in some parts of the country as main reason it fell off the list of top 10 preferred investment destinations in Africa.
Minister of Industry, trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, made this known to State House correspondents on Thursday in Abuja at the weekly Ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team.
A report released last week by a South African banking institution, last week indicated that Nigeria had fallen to the 14th position on the ranking list of investment destinations in Africa.
Adebayo, however, said several factors including the state of security were responsible for the decline.
According to him, government is doing all that is necessary to return Nigeria to its position.
“The reasons for that are numerous, the major one being the security problem that we have in the country.
“You are well aware that the Nigerian government is making every effort to resolve the security problem so that we will go back to the position of being the preferred investment destination.
“However, having said this, the feedback that I have begun to get lately from some of the people, the foreign governments that I have been meeting, is that our position is getting better because there seems to be a big interest now again in investing in Nigeria.
“So, I’m sure as time goes on, we will begin to see an improvement in that situation,’’ he said.
Adebayo also disclosed that the federal government would soon complete the construction of its quality laboratory, located in Abeokuta, Ogun.
According to the minister, the completion of the laboratory will boost government’s effort towards exporting more products abroad.
He said: “In order to improve the exportation of agricultural products, my ministry presented to the Federal Executive Council a National Quality Policy, to make sure that the quality of goods that we produce and we export are of international standard.
“We have partnered with the AFREXIMBANK and the first quality lab that is going to be in operation in Nigeria, I think should be ready by the end of this year.
“It is in Abeokuta, Ogun State, whereby, Nigerian goods would be put to the quality test and be certified by one of the international inspection agencies and once they get that certification, anywhere they are shipped to in the world, there would be no problem.”
The minister further revealed that the African Development Bank and its partners had planned to invest about 400 million dollars for the establishment of agro-processing zones in all parts of the country.
“Rather than just exporting raw materials, we are encouraging people to add value to those raw materials because doing so will also create jobs here in Nigeria.
“So, we are in talks with the African Development Bank and we are waiting for their Board to just approve the facility
“We are going to have special agro-processing zones, eight States are in the first phase and once the approval is given, the contract will be awarded for the setting up of these processing zones whereby people will set up companies and manufacturing facilities for the processing of our raw materials,” Adebayo explained.