Pathway: Nigeria clearing obstacles to investment – Tinubu

Nigeria is removing all clogs to investment and business, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said yesterday.

He explained that Nigeria is the best country in the world for returns on investments.

He added that with the ongoing economic reforms by his administration, the country presents great opportunities for genuine investors.

The President asked the global business community to ignore old perceptions about Nigeria.

Tinubu spoke at two major events in Doha, Qatar – the signing of some multi-sectoral agreements and the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum.

Speaking to Qatari businessmen, Tinubu said: “I am here to assure you that reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past.

“Whatever the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced, it is in the past because there is no obstacle in the future.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our people, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me.

“Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward.

“Do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest. Nigeria is serious about revolutionising investment promotion.

“We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles.

“We have done so much within nine months and I assure you, it is free entry and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our country. Bring your investments.”

Before the agreements were signed at the Qatar Presidential Palace, President Tinubu assured the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, of Nigeria’s preparedness to welcome investors.

He also told the Emir that his ongoing reforms favour innovation, return on investments, and multiculturalism.

He said: “There is nowhere in the world where you will find a return on investment at the level of what you will see in Nigeria.

“A massive market of over 200 million skilled Nigerians, always industrious and ready to work.”

Tinubu, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, admitted that Nigeria faces “some short-term turbulence”, which his administration is finding solutions to.

The President said: “Our greatest strength is our people. Our strength lies in the capacity of Nigerian youths.

“They have energy, talent, and self-belief. They are quality partners for the Qatari industry.

“They are educated and reliable, and they are proactively seeking to add value wherever they are.

“A few cannot give a bad name to the many. Nigerian youths are ready to be unleashed for the mutual benefit of both nations.

“We have seen the rapid pace and thorough quality of Qatar’s development process.

“It is impossible not to be moved by what you have accomplished. The leadership in the country has proven its mettle, and we are here to gain deeper insight.

“We have a government today that reflects the dynamism and talent of the Nigerian people. We are implementing the right solutions.

“This team works collaboratively with each other and our partners. Nigeria is ready for serious business.”

The Emir said Qatar was open to President Tinubu’s investment push.

He recalled visiting Nigeria in 2019 owing to his belief in its importance and the ties between the two countries.

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The Qatari leader said: “I do not doubt the great capacity of the Nigerian people. Everywhere in the world, they are known for their brilliance and hard work.

“We only need to ensure that this is happening inside of Nigeria rather than outside. The investments we have made around the world have been very fruitful.

“This is because we take our time and study opportunities before we invest in the commonwealth of our people. It is not my money.

“The money we invest belongs to the future generations of Qatar.

“Mr. President, I am very encouraged by your actions and your passion to create new opportunities. We are very open to this, and follow-up is everything at this point.

“The will is there for both of us, but we must follow up. I will send a team of officials to Nigeria after Ramadan, and we will advance discussions on what some of the actionable investment opportunities are.”

The President immediately named the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, as the leader of the government team that will interface with Qatari authorities.

Furthermore, during the bilateral deliberations, Tinubu enabled a brief presentation to the Emir by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake.

Alake spoke in detail about the high-grade mineral resources in Nigeria, including lithium.

The seven agreements signed are on cooperation in the fields of education, regulation of employment of workers with the Government of Qatar, the establishment of a Joint Business Council (JBC) between the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) as well as cooperation in the field of youths and sports.

The others are cooperation in the fields of tourism and business events, and a memorandum of understanding on combating illicit trade in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The documents were signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, and relevant officials in the Government of the State of Qatar.

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperipe Ekpo, witnessed the ceremony.

Also at the event were National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu and Special Adviser on Energy Olu Verheijen.

President Tinubu told the investors that the war against corruption and insecurity in Nigeria had been significantly strengthened with the appointment of Ribadu as NSA.

He said: “We have a man who has won many global awards for anti-corruption as an anti-corruption Czar.

“My responsibility is to tell you that Nigeria is open for business and to assure you that your investments are safe in our hands.

“We have men and women of great reputation here. And we believe we can forge a good committee that will advance our discussions to fruitful conclusions.

“A nation is an artificial entity unless there are good people to drive it. People build great nations and we have great people. We are ready.

“We have oil and gas; we have solid minerals. I do not see why we cannot become prolific partners in exploring iron ore, as well as steel production, and energy across the board.

“I am here to give you assurances in all spheres: tourism, hospitality, healthcare, and in many other opportunities that abound around us. Do not be the investors who miss out on the golden opportunity we present.”

Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, said the oil-rich country looks forward to exploring opportunities in Nigeria.

“We look forward to working with our Nigerian counterparts to achieve our joint objectives in these sectors,” the minister said.

Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Ministers Adegboyega Oyetola (Marine and Blue Economy) and Jamila Ibrahim (Youth) were part of the government delegation at the summit.

Also present was NACCIMA President Dele Kelvin Oye.

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