Govt’ll protect emerging industries through fiscal policies – Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Friday, said the Federal Government would continue to deploy fiscal policies that protect emerging industries and encourage investments in critical sectors of the economy.

Ahmed stated this in Abuja at the opening session of the 4th ECOWAS Finance Ministers’ Meeting on the consolidation of ECOWAS Customs Union.

The meeting was held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters in Abuja.

A statement from the Media Adviser to the Finance Minister, Mr Paul Abechi, quoted Ahmed as saying, “Nigeria will continue to deploy fiscal policies to support or protect emerging industries, encourage investment in critical sectors, and promote local production.

“This is with a view to achieving the effective implementation of the country’s Agricultural Promotion Policy and the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan within the transitional period of five years of implementation.”

According to Ahmed said, like every developing economy, Nigeria’s vision to industrialise is very strong, and this underscores why government is taking proactive steps to reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

She said, “We believe ECOWAS Common External Tariff should be designed to promote regional industrialisation in a manner that on the long term reduces dependence on imports.

“We will continue to work within ECOWAS to achieve these laudable objectives. Nigeria believes fervently that ECOWAS regional policies such as the CET, the customs union and other fiscal policies should aim seriously at achieving economic growth and industrialisation for member states, while reducing import dependency.”

Ahmed said the economies of scale from successful economic integration should serve as catalysts for economic development of the region.

“Nigeria, therefore, believes West Africa, while desiring integration into the global economy, should diversify its economy through manufacturing, processing of primary products and other forms of economic modernisation,” the minister added.

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