“Genuine foreign investors coming to Nigeria can now receive their visas on arrival, the Federal Government announced yesterday.”
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed the development in Lagos when he held a one-day investment forum for operators and stakeholders of the agribusiness and agro-industrial sector of the economy.
“When investors come, they are able to get multiple visas and visas at the point of entry into the country. This has been approved,” he said.
Aganga said rising from an initial forum held by the Ministry of Trade and Investment with the operators of the manufacturing and industrial sector two weeks ago, one of the complaints raised was the difficulties prospective investors faced when trying to obtain entry visas to come to Nigeria.
He explained that this difficulty had been discussed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a recommendation that genuine foreign investors entering the country should be given multiple entry visas at point of entry had been approved.
The minister also announced that as a result of the meeting with the industrial sector two weeks ago and the deliberations that followed, all was now set for about N1.5 trillion fresh non-oil investment to be injected into the Nigerian economy in the next one year.
Aganga said 166 non-oil indigenous firms had finalised plans to invest the N1.5 trillion in the Nigerian economy within the next 12 months.
According to him, the investment figure, which was a conservative one because of the few companies captured, was arrived at after an analysis of the survey forms filled by the companies during the ministry’s maiden meeting with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and captains of industry.
Of the total amount, the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, will invest N900 billion in the production of fertiliser and petro-chemicals.
The Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc pledged to invest N45 billion; Guinness Nigeria Plc, $225 million; Odua Investment Company Limited, N37 billion; and Chairman, Ikeja Hotels Plc, Mr. Goodie Ibru, $6 million; among others.
According to the survey, the manufacturing, real estate, agro-allied and automotive sectors will get N1.06 trillion, N198.5 billion, N67.8 billion and N45 billion investments respectively, while tourism, trade and commerce, transport and others will make up the rest.
Aganga, who commended the Nigerian investors for their confidence in the Nigerian economy, added that the Federal Government was committed to providing the conducive environment to enable the private sector to play a pivotal role in the transformation of the country’s economy.
He said at the end of the one-day workshop on agribusiness, stakeholders would also come out with a roadmap for the implementation of the Nigerian Agribusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative.
This, according to him, will be a major step forward in the efforts aimed at job creation and economic growth. On the proposed N1.5 trillion investment, the minister said: “During our meeting with the Organised Private Sector, we asked them to fill a survey form to indicate the sectors they want to invest in, and more importantly, the expected investment they intend to bring into that sector going forward. The objective was to know the level of investment we can get from the companies in Nigeria before we talk about Foreign Direct Investments.
“The result of that survey has just been released. It showed that the local companies will invest N1.52 trillion in the Nigerian economy within the next 12 months. And this is in the non-oil sector alone.”
According to Nigeria’s Vision 2020 document, Nigeria needs to invest N34 trillion in growth areas in the next four years. Of this, the Federal Government should account for N10 trillion; state governments, N9 trillion; and private sector (both local and international) N15 trillion.
The overall macroeconomic target for the medium term is for Nigeria to achieve a target Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of N50 trillion ($333 billion) by 2013, as well as growth in GDP per capita from $1,075 in 2009 to $2,008.75 by 2013.
“The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Investment, is fully committed to partnering these companies by removing any barrier that will impede the investment, which will be pro-growth and pro-jobs,” the minister said. Aganga also noted that in the pursuit of a unified economic growth and development objective, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, had been working on the agriculture production side and on how to move from agriculture as a social activity to agriculture as a business.
He also highlighted that the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN is working on the NISRAL programme with the aim of de-risking agriculture business. He noted that his ministry was working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the development of all points in the agriculture value chain to which end the Ministry of Trade and Investment would be launching a new programme called the Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro Industry Development Initiative.
He said under this new initiative to be launched soon, the ministry hoped to attract investment, create market for local products, create jobs and create wealth. This programme, according to Aganga, will be managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, CBN, and the Ministry of Trade and Investment and would be a total package.
He, however, assured Nigerians that policies formulated and implemented in the country would be pro-local production.
Lending a voice to President Goodluck Jonathan’s popular goal of food import substitution, Aganga restated that the government was committed to the stamping out of the importation commodities for which Nigeria has comparative advantage such as rice and sugar.
“Ministry of Trade and Investment will join the Ministry of Agriculture and work as a team. We want to end the importation of rice and we want this to happen in the next three years. Also, sugar supply is low compared to what we need and we want to address this using the backward integration policy,” he concluded.
-By Crusoe Osagie