Federal Government’s Effort To Attract Foreign Investments Into The Economy Received A Major Boost From French Investors Who However Tabled A List Of Demands
French investors yesterday gave conditions under which they will encourage investment inflow into Nigeria under the new federal government investment drive.
A delegation of French investors, numbering over 50, on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Monday, expressed worries over the safety of their investments in Nigeria and urged the federal government to guarantee that their investments will be safe.
The group led by President of the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), Mr. Pierre Gattaz, which included other delegation of French investors, also called on the President to remove bottlenecks that had hitherto stifled inflow of investments and investors into the country.
The visit followed recent visit to that country by President Buhari on investment drive as part of federal government policy to boost industrial development and jobs creation for teeming unemployed youths in the country.
In response, President Muhammadu Buhari assured them that the 2016 National Budget being prepared by his administration will include fresh policies and measures to encourage the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy away from its current over-dependence on the oil and gas sector.
The President said that policies being evolved by his administration to boost domestic manufacturing and attract greater investment to Nigeria’s agricultural and mining sectors will be given full effect under the 2016 budget.
The President, therefore, urged Mr. Gattaz and the French trade mission with interest in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure development and other areas, to return to Nigeria next year in order to take full advantage of the new policies.
President Buhari also assured the French investors that under his leadership, Nigeria will not fall short of international standards in the protection of foreign investments and the repatriation of returns on such investments.
Agreeing that domestic security and the inflow of foreign investment were intrinsically linked, the President told the French investors, whose visit to Nigeria is a follow-up to his recent trip to Paris, that the Federal Government was taking all necessary measures to overcome Nigeria’s security challenges.
“Our government came into office at a time when many people had abandoned the country’s manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors.
“We are doing our utmost best to encourage diversification into these sectors which can employ a lot of people and we will welcome your support in this regard.
“Ultimately, reducing unemployment will also help to improve security because unemployment and insecurity are inseparable,” President Buhari told the French investors.
The President said that Nigeria would also welcome more French investment in its power sector “because availability of steady power supply will lead to the reopening of closed factories and the creation of more jobs”. He also assured the delegation that his administration was tackling corruption with vigour to ensure greater probity in the management of national resources.
– Tony Ailemen, Abuja