Headlines News

Buhari to French Investors: Nigeria is viable to attract, sustain FDI


*Assures investors of Nigeria’s willingness to create a win-win at every point

*Why we’re building diverse cooperations with Nigeria – French President

President Muhammadu Buhari says outlook on Nigerian economy remains bright, with sustained investments in infrastructure, particularly ICT, that favour global businesses and a friendly regulatory environment that supports Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

The president, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, stated this in a keynote remark at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum, with focus on “Beyond the Pandemic”, in Paris, France, on Wednesday.

President Buhari said the Nigerian economy was being re-engineered and re-positioned to be globally more competitive, favouring business and entrepreneurship to drive growth and development.

He said: ”For us in Nigeria, lessons drawn from the pandemic prompted us to redouble efforts to mitigate its socio-economic effects.

”Despite prevailing uncertainties, our equitable and sustainable reform initiatives resulted in substantial economic gains and steady recovery.

“I can assure you that our administration is on the right path to achieving multi-sectoral progress.

”We have revitalized the economy by increasing investments in capacity building, health, infrastructure, women’s empowerment, climate change, and food security.

“Today, these actions are yielding self-employment, expanding our human resource pool and strengthening our national productivity for sustainable development.”

The president told a gathering of French and Nigerian businessmen that the government recognized the nation’s risk profile and decided to re-assess and update the National Security Strategy in 2019.

“The implementation of this multi-sectoral strategy has contributed to the progress we have made in fighting insurgents and terrorists in the North East of the country.

”Working closely with international partners, we are firmly addressing the root causes of crimes, and taking measures to prevent and counter violent extremism.

“As I said at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival.

”With this in mind, we have incorporated the Public-Private Partnership model into our economic recovery plan, to attract private sector participation in the financing and operations of critical economic and social infrastructure,” he said.

According to him, this measure is already helping to mitigate COVID-19 triggered capital flight and decline in grant and development financing.

The Nigerian leader recalled how he stressed the link between modern infrastructure and the overall economic development of a nation at the just concluded COP26 in Glasgow.

”Hence, the massive infrastructure expansion programme, we have been executing in various sectors since the beginning of this administration. 1.5 trillion Dollars is the cumulative amount estimated to be spent within a period of ten years from 2015.

“So far, we have made significant investments in railways, seaports, roads, renewable energy, housing, and many others attractive to prospective investors.

”Institutions such as the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and the recently created Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria run as independent world class institutions to support and facilitate investments in the country,’’ the president noted.

President Buhari said opportunities in the mining sector had been expanded, with simplified licensing process, extensive investments in transportation of raw materials, equipment and other mining elements by road and by rail.

“To keep the progress in the digital economy, the fastest growing sector in Nigeria in both 2020 and 2021 on track, we recently approved the national policy on Fifth Generation (5G) network.

“Our ultimate goal is to leverage ICT platforms to spur further investments and create jobs, while diversifying support to other emerging sectors. Already, several foreign investors are taking advantage of our recent ranking as the leading start-up ecosystem in Africa.

“Over a week ago, I launched the E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency.

”When fully operationalized, this innovation will increase participation in fin-tech within Nigeria, increase efficiency in the banking sector, and boost our capacity to combat illicit flow of funds,’’ he said.

He said the oil sector was also getting more attention to expand opportunities with the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

‘’In the oil and gas sector, I recently signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The legislation, which is expected to serve as a liberalizing force in the industry, introduced incentives such as tax holidays, zero-interest loans, and easy repatriation of profits.

“Our plan is to increase Liquefied Natural Gas exports and expand our domestic market. Partnerships in textile and leather processing, tourism, and health sectors are also areas we can explore,’’ he said.

The president noted that the agricultural sector, through Anchor Borrowers Programme, provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, leading to the expansion in the number of rice mills in Nigeria from ten in 2014 to forty today.

“The country has also increased the number of active fertilizer blending plants to more than forty-six, from fewer than five in 2014.

“Similarly, we have set aside several million hectares of available arable land for agriculture, and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country.’’

President Buhari assured the investors of the country’s willingness to create a win-win at every point.

“I am proud to reiterate our resolve to reduce and ultimately eliminate obstacles to access and retention of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

”Our investment-friendly policies are backed by the rule of law, practical security policies and a resilient population.

“Let me finally stress that Nigeria is open for partnership and cooperation. I invite the French business community to take advantage of the vast investment opportunities in Africa’s largest economy.

”As our development partners, rest assured that we will stand together with you throughout our partnership journey to guarantee our mutual interest,’’ he said.

The National Security Adviser to the President, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Nigeria’s Special Envoy on Chad and Lake Chad Basin, Amb. Babagana Kingibe, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama also gave an overview on key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Some business leaders from Nigeria at the event were Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources, Mohammed Indimi and the Chairman of Nigeria’s BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, who also heads France-Nigeria Business Council.

Others were the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, Chairman of Heirs Holdings and UBA, Tony Elumelu and Chairman/Editor-In-Chief of This Day Group and Arise News Channel, Nduka Obiagbena.

Meanwhile, France President, Emmanuel Macron, says Nigeria is a powerhouse in Africa and that informs why his country is building a tight and diverse cooperation with Africa’s most populous nation.

Macron stated this on Wednesday in Paris at the Nigeria international Partnership Forum (NIPF), a high-level event on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the one-day event was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, ministers and business moguls from Nigeria and France.

NAN also reports that the event was organised to bring together the Nigerian and French governments including private sectors in wide-ranging discussions focused on security, regional stability, trade and industrialisation.

The event is also to attract investment to Nigeria, bridge existing infrastructure gaps, spotlight Nigeria’s immense trade and investment opportunities and reset false and distorted narratives about the country.

Macron, who was represented by French Minister of Foreign Trade and Economy, Mr. Franck Reister, said his country and Nigeria shared many strategic interests.

“France may seem a distant partner for Nigeria, even when it is surrounded by French speaking countries with whom France shares a long history and where our companies have a strong foothold.

“However, the reality is actually quite different: because France mainly, is Nigeria’s second financial bilateral partner after China, with around 3 Billion Euros of loans to the federal government.

“Nigeria is also our first trading partner on the continent and a very strategic one in the oil and gas sector since more than 10 per cent of our gas supply comes directly from Nigeria.

“More than 100 French companies are present in Nigeria whereas almost 20 per cent of French Foreign Direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa are directed to Nigeria,” he said.

“In 2019, the stock in Nigeria reached the very impressive amount of 9.7 Billion Euros and would like to stress that we have longstanding and intense cultural, academic and scientific relations,” he said.

He went further: “Our culture and cooperation network in Nigeria is quite unique, with 11cultural centers throughout the country, all dedicated to promote the ties between our two societies.”

Macron described France also as a great supporter of the vibrant cultural creativity of the Nigerian people, as witnessed for instance, during the recent Africa 2020 season.

He noted that his country was committed to the stability of the Sahel region and the safety of maritime trade routes of the Gulf of Guinea

Macron recalled that a week before now, the Nigerian Navy participated in the exercise Grand African Nemo, organised by the French Navy.

He said the successful operation underscored the great cooperation potential between both navies.

Macron, however, noted that in spite of these remarkable facts and figures, the trade relations between both countries had remained below its true potential.

“I believe that we have much to build together to give bilateral trade a new impetus.

‘Nigerian people’s entrepreneurial spirit is also well known, and certainly the most dynamic among their peers in Africa.

“Of course, challenges remain on multiple fronts, and I commend the Nigerian government for tackling those topics head on,” he said.

Macron said that more than 100 French businesses in Nigeria had created more than 10,000 jobs in Nigeria and were supporting the local communities where they were based,

” French entrepreneurs are constantly setting foot in Nigeria to invest in a wide range of sectors, from energy to digital, from agriculture to environment.

” It is not always easy but their commitment bears fruits. And I encourage all French companies present today to follow in their footsteps and get inspired by their example,” he said.

Macron assured that both French authorities and companies were committed to support the ambition of turning Nigeria into astrong industrial country, less dependent on oil and gas and imports.

He said the commitment informed why the French Agency for Development had invested, over the last 10 years, in multiple sectors such as infrastructure, transports, energy, creative industries and sports.

“And this is also why the French Treasury has decided to allocate to your government a loan of more than 50 milion Euro which will be the first for the Treasury since 1990 and the first ever French loan in the healthcare sector in Nigeria,” he said

The president assured that the France-Nigeria Business Council would be a catalyst to cementing cooperation and investments.

About the author

Ada Ada

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: