The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiah Aisha Abubakar, said Nigeria would benefit immensely from the Shea Industry if the informal sector was properly harnessed.
Abubakar said this at the introduction of the upcoming 11th Annual International Shea Conference themed: “Shea 2018” focused on “Going Further Together” on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that sector would go a long way to boost employment generation, alleviate poverty, create wealth, sustain the environment and attract foreign investment.
According to her, Nigeria accounts for about 57 per cent of the world Shea production.
“Nigeria accounts for about 57 per cent of the world Shea nut production of which the global Shea market for chocolate value is approximately 117 billion dollars while that of the cosmetics industry stands at 382 billion dollars.
“The 2018 conference no doubt explores the meaning of an African proverb that states “if you want to ‘go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,” Abubakar said.
She said that the conference would afford Nigeria an opportunity for business linkages with the rest of the world, reduce trade barriers and also achieve sustainability.
“The country would be on the right path to diversifying its economy through strategic focus on the commodity’s export business.
“Shea butter has the potential to eradicate poverty, improve rural economies and also provide richness to our teeming youths,” she added.
On collaboration, she said that the ministry would collaborate with the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NCA) and the Ministry Agriculture to organise the 16th annual International African Cotton Congress.
Abubakar said that the congress would focus on mechanised cotton farming as an essential equipment to boost African cotton production.
She said that the county was blessed with fertile land for cotton production.
Abubakar said that the conference would provide Nigeria with International best practices as well as new technologies in line with cotton farming.
On Made in Nigeria franchise, Abubakar said that the ministry would champion franchise business development services for Made in Nigeria business access around the world.
According to her, the scheme is aimed at franchising scalable local businesses that have proven their mantle to other countries.
The Managing Consultant, Franchise Business Development Services Limited (FBDS), Mr Chiagozie Nwizu, said that all over the world, businesses were leveraging on the opportunity provided by franchise.
Nwizu said the essence was to build and expand brands, adding that Nigeria cannot be an exception.
He said that the venture would help enhance the economy through local production and by extension, the GDP.
“Countries like India, South Africa and the United States have had success stories and we feel that we can benchmark and replicate same for Nigerian businesses.
“Majority of foreign businesses in Nigeria today are franchised and we think that we can leverage successful businesses in Nigeria just like we have the likes of Shoprite, Donmino Pizzas, and so on,” Nwizu said.
Responding, the minister pledged the ministry’s support and enthusiasm for promotion of Made in Nigeria products.
She said that there was need for the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the franchise bill that had scaled through the second reading to provide the legal framework for the scheme.(NAN)