The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, in collaboration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, is currently implementing the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport, NEXTT, project which is expected to promote investments, trade, and the economic wellbeing of the country.
A statement by the Assistant Director/Head, Media and Protocol, Mr. Joel Attah, stated that the project is an integrated approach to economically develop Lagos-Kano–Jibiya, by promoting investments in agribusiness, advocating for business friendly policies along the corridor, as well as support the development of infrastructure.
It stated that since the inception of NEXTT in 2013, USAID has been working closely with NIPC in a symbiotic manner with respect to the goals and aspirations of the two organisations, adding that the executive secretary of NIPC has approved the posting of one NIPC management staff, Mr. Aminu Takuma, to the NEXTT project in Abuja to provide technical assistance for the success of the project.
“In order to realise the partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between USAID, NEXTT and NIPC is underway and will soon be signed once the drafts are accepted by the two organisations.
“NEXTT projects has the approval of the federal government and even prior to these projects, USAID has been making efforts in the area of Maximising Agriculture Revenue in Key Enterprise and Target Sites, MARKETS, project, and the Nigeria Expanded Exports Program, NEEP, in order to stimulate investment in trade-related infrastructure and services, reform trade policies and procedures, and the improvement of Nigerian firms in global and regional markets.
“Over the next four years, NEXT project is expected to leverage on both the past and current efforts toward realizing the following outcomes: $25 million in new investments projects along the LAKAJI corridor; a 30 percent reduction in transport costs, as well as the number of days of moving goods along the LAKAJI corridor, dynamic trade policy coordination mechanisms that integrate public and private sector priorities into a strategic framework for engagement with trading partners.
“Others are the modernisation of customs procedures and systems with a view to meeting international standards for agricultural goods and $30 million additional exports for strategic positioning of Nigerian exporters through export promotion institutions and industry groups,” it said.
It further said that by integrating the two agencies respective operations and signing of the expected MoU, the NEXTT project would be able to deepen the relationship with the NIPC, particularly in respect to capacity building.
It noted that the project would closely engage NIPC zonal offices in Kano and Ibadan with a view to strengthening NIPC’s investment promotion efforts along the LAKAJI corridor.