- Says Nigeria offers attractive opportunities
- Solicits Japan’s support in fight against sea pirates
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on Japanese investors to invest in Nigeria saying the country offers attractive opportunities and returns on investments.
The President has also sought the support of the Japanese authorities in combating piracy and illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said “Nigeria has very attractive investment opportunities with some of the highest Returns-on-Investment,” in Yokohama, Japan, while presenting the country’s Statement at Plenary Session Three on “Public-Private Business Dialogue” at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7).
He said he looked forward to prospective investors making inroads “in the following priority sectors in Nigeria, namely, power and renewable energy, petrochemical and gas, maritime (shipping and ports), automobiles, mining, agribusiness, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, ICT and railway.”
Assuring potential investors of good returns as a result of ongoing reform measures taken by his administration, he added:
“I have also established a Presidential Committee on Enabling Business Environment, which is made up of key Ministries and prominent businessmen to promote the Ease of Doing Business and make Nigeria more attractive and competitive for investment.”
Similarly, Buhari said that his administration was “committed to removing all impediments to private sector participation in these sectors by creating policies that will ensure consistency, predictability and a level playing field for all.”
Having identified power, transportation, infrastructure, maritime/shipping, agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, petro-chemicals, food processing and textiles among others, as “key drivers to the diversification” of the Nigerian economy as well as “priority areas that will drive our Economic Agenda,” the President said he looked forward to “welcoming prospective investors to Nigeria.”
Reviewing Nigeria-Japan relations, the President commended existing bonds of friendship and economic cooperation between both countries, describing the Asian country as “a strategic partner for our socio-economic development.” He disclosed Nigeria’s intention to “further encourage relationships with key public and private sector stakeholders” in both nations.
The Nigerian leader expressed particular delight with the level of “discussions on the establishment of the Japan-Nigeria Business Facilitation Council, an initiative of the Japanese government, which would be launched on our return to Nigeria,” adding that, “I look forward to positive reports of increased trade and investment between Nigeria and Japan from these initiatives.”
Describing the TICAD Forum as important to Nigeria in many respects, President Buhari said it “coincides with the period when the country is faced with a number of challenges that affect our economy.”
Noting that his administration “has put in place measures seeking to diversify the economy by developing agriculture, emphasising on manufacturing and addressing the energy and infrastructure deficit,” he expressed confidence that, “With these we shall be placing Nigeria on the path of rapid growth and sustainable development.”
According to the Nigerian President, TICAD is also “coming at a time when our government is implementing home-grown and private sector-driven economic measures that are predicated on good governance, infrastructure and human capital development as well as, business climate reform.” The above domestic measures, he explained, informed his invitation to “the private sector to come and invest in Nigeria.”
According to him, “Nigeria and indeed Africa, expect much from this Forum in terms of investment, considering the role of Foreign Direct Investment in all economies – developed and developing.”
Buhari also expressed Nigeria’s gratitude to the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, “for his unwavering commitment to strengthen trade and investment between Japan and Africa through various initiatives, partnership and support of the Japanese Government.”
He also wished TICAD7 “fruitful deliberations and hope that the conclusions reached will enhance access by African countries to international capital investment as well as boost Japan-Africa exchanges by developing new and strategic public and private sector alliances.”
On the Gulf of Guinea, a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said President Buhari made the request during a bilateral meeting between Nigerian delegation and Japanese officials led by the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on the margins of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan, yesterday
This came as Japanese authorities pledged the sum of $300,000 support for the National Defence College as well as 12 million Yen for the nation’s public health sector.
The Nigerian leader, who commended Abe for the invitation extended to him to attend the triennial Forum, also thanked the Japanese government for attending the pioneer celebration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe welcomed President Buhari’s participation at TICAD7 and the country’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Commending the Buhari administration for taking Nigeria to the Next Level, Abe pledged a $300,000 support for Nigeria’s Defence College as well as 12 million Yen for the country’s public health sector.
He also pledged his country’s support for Nigeria’s Presidency of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, while seeking Nigeria’s support for Japan’s bid to occupy some global positions.