Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Federal Government has been called upon to do more in the area of Ease of Doing Business by giving more incentives to investors and relaxing more measures for them.
National President, Agricultural Traders Welfare Association, Dr. Joseph Okeke, made the plea over the weekend during the inauguration of a committee for specialised agricultural markets across Nigeria.
He called on the government to reduce interest rate charges on loans to enable investors to invest effectively in the system.
Okeke, who spoke on the sidelines of the inauguration of the project implementation committee, said plans are afoot to construct specialised markets based on the storage, preservation, centrality, accessibility and security of such goods in terms of handling logistics for local and export purpose, across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
According to him, a project implementation committee is expected to engage various state governments and investors to construct markets that will fully recognise the investment potential and create viable economic life.
While urging the Federal Government to provide a conducive environment that will encourage local and foreign investors to move into projects, he regretted the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that goes after investors at any little excuse, saying that such actions have continued to scare investors.
On harassment by touts on the highways who go after farm produce, Okeke called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to liaise with the association for permanent solutions to the issue.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, whose ministry is in a partnership venture with Agricultural Traders Welfare Association (ATWA), said the partnership reflects the policy thrust of the present administration towards the promotion and development of the non-oil commodity sub-sector with a view to achieving the gains of economic diversification.
Other members of the committee were drawn from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Customs, Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), among others.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Meristem Securities Limited, a leading capital market conglomerate offering investment-banking, wealth management, stockbroking, registrar and trustees services has launched two new style indices, the NSE-Meristem Growth Index and NSE-Meristem Value Index.
The style indices were designed in response to demand for customised indices to support product development and investment management. They will provide a benchmark for the market to gauge the performance of value stocks and growth stocks listed on the Exchange.
Commenting on the launch, the Divisional Head, Trading Business Division of NSE, Mr. Jude Chiemeka, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Meristem Securities in the development of the first style-focused indices to be publicly launched in Nigeria. The introduction of the NSE-Meristem Growth and NSE-Meristem Value Indices is a laudable and innovative effort which is long overdue.”