The minister said Nigeria was a promising market for retail trade.
Nigeria attracted over N205.4 billion worth of fresh investments into her retail sector in the last two years, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said.
The minister, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Retail Council of Nigeria in Abuja, on Monday, identified the retail sector as a major driver of economic growth, job creation and wealth generation globally; pointing out that Nigeria had great opportunities for existing and new investors to take advantage of.
Mr. Aganga said that Nigeria was beginning a journey to strengthen and deepen one of the most important segments of the economy, adding that the retail sector was the glue that binds economic activities together, by connecting the final consumers, to products from the producers.
He said the impact of retail business in Nigeria cannot be over- emphasized, considering that anywhere in the world; it was a major driver of the economy.
“Globally retail trade accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product), which means we have about $19 trillion of retail sales each year,” the minister said.
“Retail sector also employs 17 per cent of the global workforce, which is about 800 million people. In the United States alone, one in every 10 people works in the retail sector. If retail is the sector to grow, then Nigeria is the market to be. There is simply no better retail market right now than the Nigerian market,” he added.
Nigeria, the minister said, was a retailer’s delight, pointing out that with a population of 167 million people (the 7th largest in the world); consumer spending well in excess of $100 billion a year, and a fast growing middle class, Nigeria was definitely the most promising market on the African continent.
In addition, he said over 80 million Nigerians live in metropolitan areas, creating huge opportunities for formal retail to thrive, noting that over the last two years alone, the Nigerian retail market attracted over $1.3 billion (about N205.4 billion) in investments into the formal retail space, describing the pace of developments within Nigerian retail sector as breath-taking.
Mr. Aganga said that the inauguration of the RCN would accelerate the growth and development of the nation’s retail sector, adding that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment would work together with all the stakeholders to grow and strengthen the sector.
He said the launch of the Retail Council of Nigeria was consistent with the ministry’s mandate on facilitating domestic and international trade, saying it would accelerate national agenda to develop the retail sector, given that the ministry recently developed strategies for domestic, African, and international trade.
He said Nigeria’s domestic trade strategy would promote large trade aggregators and hubs, such as formal shopping malls; sizeable wholesalers; and a modernized retail sector in general, stressing the need for the public and private sectors to work together, to fully develop Nigeria’s retail sector as part of the strategy.
As part of efforts to develop and strengthen retail sector, Mr. Aganga assured that the Federal Government would address the challenges facing the sector, which include the need to promote domestic sourcing of goods.
He said the Federal government was intensifying efforts to execute some of the key sectorial initiatives to improve access to made in Nigeria products –through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution plan, NIRP, for manufactured goods; and the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme, NEDEP, or specific MSME products.
These programmes, he said, were designed to increase production, enhance product standards, and increase information available to retailers on sourcing options and strategies”.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, RCN, Olusegun Obasanjo, said there was need for the government and the private sector to collaborate in order to fast-track the development and growth of the retail sector in Nigeria.
“Retail sector is much larger than supermarkets or malls. It encompasses other aspects of economic activities responsible for creating direct and indirect employment. In order to develop and grow the retail sector in Nigeria, there is the need for collaboration between stakeholders and the government for the overall growth of the organised retail sector and the nation’s economy,” Mr. Obasanjo said.