Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has told French investors that Nigeria is open for business and is inviting them to take advantage of the enabling environment in the country to do business. Osinbajo gave the assurance during a dinner/cocktail organised in Abuja by the Nigerian Embassy in France as part of activities for the ongoing three-day Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum.
He told already existing French companies and the French business delegates, who were on a fact-finding mission, that the government was committed to ensuring that their businesses thrive in the country. “I am really excited about what we can achieve together. “Nigeria is certainly open for business and we are prepared to work with all of our potential investors and many who are here already to make your business experience as seamless as possible. “I like the fact that we have here with us businessmen and women who are already committed to Nigeria in various ways, and a few who are still considering investing here. “But one thing I want to say to you is that we are not only interested in your taking a look around to see what prospects there are. “We are prepared to work with you through all of the various regulatory issues that you may face. “I am glad that some of our major officials are here and I am sure that they must have spoken to you earlier in the day. “However, what we try to do is to get as much commitment from the top as possible which is why the president asked me to chair the ease of doing business and the economic management team,” Osinbajo said.
He assured the investors that the Nigerian government would assist them to walk through any of the difficulties that they may encounter as quickly as possible. The vice-president commended the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Modupe Irele, for putting up the thoughtful event, saying that it would help boost and diversify Nigeria’s economy. He appreciated Mr Guillaume de Kedrel, the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of France in Nigeria, who, he described, as a gem in smoothening the relationship between France and Nigeria. Also, Mrs Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), said that in line with the Forum’s theme, “From Talk to Action’’, NIPC hoped more French investors would key into opportunities in Nigeria. Sadiku said that the NIPC hoped that in one or two years from now, it would see tangible evidences from all the discussions at the Forum, to demonstrate that things had truly moved from “Talk to Action”. “What we offer to you is the opportunity to help to facilitate where you have challenges in implementing the things that you will like to do. “Our own particular focus at NIPC is encouraging, promoting and coordinating investment plans in Nigeria. “I will like to offer to you, NIPC’s support in addressing, in breaching, in getting to a point where the investment plans you have can be facilitated. “We went through a process at the NIPC to identify the countries that we considered to be of strategic importance to Nigeria for investment promotion. “And I am delighted that France is one of the countries that we identified in that context,’’ Sadiku said.
The NIPC boss added that the Commission had also spent time trying to understand France’s global and regional trade and investments relationships. She said that it wanted to know what France buys and sell to the world, as well as what France invested in across the world. Sadiku said that the NIPC would like to leverage on the intelligence it got from that engagement to deepen the trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Kerdrel appreciated the Nigerian government’s commitment and the assurances of Osinbajo that Nigeria was open for business. The French envoy said that its embassy in Nigeria was actively working with French firms that had been in Nigeria for decades. He explained that the Embassy had helped to foster and enhance economic and business activities, and kept encouraging French firms to visit Nigeria to be convinced by the fantastic opportunities in the Nigerian market. Kerdrel said that following the visit of his President, Emmanuel Macron, to Nigeria in 2018, a Nigeria-French Business club was set up. He said that the role of the Embassy was to promote further investments and high-level contacts. NAN reports that the Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum seeks to strengthen trade relations between Nigeria and France. Photo Credit: Getty