The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in 2024 has allocated a budget of ₦2.5bn for various initiatives. This hefty sum will be utilised towards acquiring furniture and new fittings, reorganising office spaces through effective partitioning, enhancing trade intelligence, promoting investments, revitalising the ministry’s image, and organising informative roadshows. Based on a thorough examination of the recently approved 2024 Appropriation Bill, it has been revealed that the ministry is to spend a substantial ₦500m for endeavours related to investment promotion, reshaping of their public image, and conducting various roadshows.
It was also revealed in the bill that another ₦500m has also been allotted towards the purchase of office furniture as well as fixtures, while an equivalent sum of ₦500m has been set aside for the establishment of new offices as well as the partitioning of spaces within the new FMITI headquarters building. However, the trade ministry has recently faced scrutiny as senators raised concerns regarding a budget allocation of ₦1bn for a trip to Geneva.
Utilization of funds by the ministry was criticised.
During a session of the Senate Committee on Trade, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment, addressed the matter, which had been raised during a budget defence. Adams Oshiomhole, who was once the Governor of Edo State and currently serves as the Senator representing Edo North, spoke against the allocation, stating that it was an imprudent use of taxpayer money. He emphasised the importance for the minister to reconsider her plan to go to Geneva and instead utilise the specialists in her ministry.
He further expressed concern over the significant amount of money allocated, exceeding ₦1bn, for the upcoming trip next year. He strongly advocated for a more efficient approach, highlighting the need to avoid oversized teams during international travels. He suggested tapping into the expertise available in their offices located in the country as a means of cost-saving. The establishment of a Trade Intelligence Unit is also included in the ministry’s budget, with an allocation of ₦1bn.
Nigeria’s vast potential should be used to foster industrial growth.
In the Senate’s budget presentation, Oshiomhole expressed his apprehensions regarding the scarcity of comprehensive data regarding Nigeria’s economic dealings with its key trading partners. He raised a question to the minister, seeking clarification on the trade balance, particularly concerning China. He also emphasised that countries exporting goods to Nigeria should be obliged to establish manufacturing facilities within the country. It is imperative for them to harness Nigeria’s vast population potential in order to foster industrial growth.
He urged her to remain in her workspace and dedicate herself to serving Nigerians. He has visited the ministry on two occasions, yet she consistently chooses to be at the BoI. He further remarked that if she truly preferred the BoI, she should have declined the President’s appointment as a minister. However, in her reply, the commerce minister expressed her disappointment in admitting that there appears to be no data evidence of the country’s Balance of Trade.
Generation and storage of data will be ensured.
Lastly, she confirmed the initiation of a new department known as the Trade Intelligence Unit, which intends to guarantee the generation and storage of data. This assertion by the minister disregards the fact that the National Bureau of Statistics already provides comprehensive information on Nigeria’s trade statistics every quarter. Data has a significant impact on different sectors and industries in Nigeria. The implementation of data and the utilisation of data-driven initiatives enable organisations to foster growth, enhance competitiveness, and enhance decision-making abilities.