Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has invited investors to make inroads into priority sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power and renewable energy, petrochemical and gas, maritime (shipping and ports), automobiles, mining, agribusiness, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and railways.
According to the President, “Nigeria has very attractive investment opportunities with some of the highest Returns-on-Investment.”
He extended the invitation Thursday at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), while presenting the country’s Statement at Plenary Session Three on “Public-Private Business Dialogue.”
Related: Buhari arrives Yokohama, Japan
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement said Buhari assured potential investors of good returns as a result of ongoing reforms by his administration.
“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,” President Buhari said.
He further assured 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.”
The President said he was looking forward to “welcoming prospective investors to Nigeria,” 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.”
Reviewing Nigeria-Japan relations, President Buhari 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 countries.
Buhari 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.”
President 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.”