By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Those always regarding Abuja as a government city should have a rethink as the city is now emerging as a global economic hub for Africa, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Muhammed Bello has said.
Speaking at a strategic meeting with the leadership of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Monday, the Minister posited that Abuja of yesterday is not of today as businesses across the sectors are now thriving in FCT with investors from all over the world streaming into the capital city.
The Minister who was elated by the high profile activities of ACCI predicted that with the pace of economic development in Abuja, the city is on its way to becoming a Dubai of Nigeria.
Commenting on planned collaboration with ACCI, he said the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has adopted a conscious policy of providing enabling environment for businesses to thrive as well as easing the tight regulatory environment.
“It is in pursuance of this support for the private sector to grow and develop the economy of Nigeria that I am here today at ACCI to brainstorm on how to deepen commercial activities in the territory while also transforming the city into a conference city of West Africa.
“To that end, we have entered into strategic relationship with ACCI as we believe only such collaboration with the private sector can accelerate the economic expansion of the Nigerian capital city. We will partner with ACCI to host the 17th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) scheduled for between September and October, 2022 and all other conferences and exhibitions organised by the Chamber.
“My Ministry is a great facilitator of business and I will build on that record with this partnership,” he said in his remark.
Earlier, the President ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar told the Minister about the national and international activities of the Chamber spanning all sectors of Nigeria economy, explaining that the Chamber has become a propelling force of economic growth for the FCT and Nigeria as a whole.
“We welcome the Honourable Minister’s pledge of sustained partnership and we want to put on notice that the FCT administration has not only been supportive of FCT business operation but has been very proactive in providing needed support and facilitation for the growth of the private sector.
“The Abuja International Trade Fair is already an international gathering of business leaders all over the world. Additionally, we have lined up several other conferences and exhibitions which will help to realise the dream of the Minister of making Abuja the conference hub in Africa”, Dr Abubakar stressed.
Dr Abubakar while thanking the Minister for his support so far commended the personal initiative of him for a strategic partnership between the Minister and ACCI, stressing that Ministry’s readiness to support business will go a long way to generate wealth, expand the economy and create job opportunities for thousands of Nigerians.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Abuja Trade Centre and ACCI Vice President Mines, Dr Johnson Anene noted that the partnership between ACCI and the FCTA is a commendable model which reflected international best practices as is the case with Dubai Expo, Doha Expo and similar business exhibitions in Europe and North America.
“We assure partners and business operators locally and internationally that AITF enjoys the backing of the government and we are poised to deliver on the Honourable Minister’s mandate to make Abuja not just an economy hub but an international conference and exhibitions Centre,” Dr Anene said.
Other ACCI EXCO members present at the meeting were, VP ICT, Mr Osi Imomoh; VP Agriculture, Dr Kolawole Owoka; VP Communication Strategy and External Relations, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong; VP Commerce, Dr Sunday Sijuade; Executive Director Abuja Trade Centre, Mr Jude Chime; and the Executive Director National Chamber Policy Centre, Mr Olawale Rasheed.