Buhari promises French investors favourable business climate
VISITING President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday encouraged investors in France and other parts of the world to invest in Nigeria, promising that his administration would provide conducive environment for their businesses to thrive.
Buhari, who is on a three-day official visit to France, gave the assurance while addressing a gathering of investors at the Nigerian-France Presidential Business Forum (PBF) at the headquarters of the French Business Confederation (MEDEF) in Paris.
He said his decision to approach headlong issue of insecurity immediately he assumed office in May this year was to ensure safety of lives, property and investments of all citizens and foreigners in the country, stressing the need for Nigeria and France, which already had a cordial trade partnership, to promote what he described as a win-win sustainable business relationship.
Buhari, who recalled that the economic ties between the two countries dates back to 1902 when the CFO set up a training programme in Lagos, assured that his administration would rebuild Nigeria into a competitive, virile and productive economy based on excellence, integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law.
“It is a positive development that today, Nigeria is the largest trading partner with France in Africa. But opportunities abound to greatly increase the current $5 billion yearly trade volume. I fully agree with President Hollande when he declared in February 2014 in Abuja that trade volume between both countries should double in four years,” he said.
According to the President, this trade expansion is to cover critical areas, such as agriculture, energy, automobile and skills development.
“Today, many French companies are happy to have flourishing businesses in Nigeria, opportunities abound to greatly increase the $5 billion yearly trade volume between the two countries.” Buhari lauded the commitment of Hollande and his plan to redouble the number.
“Nigeria is now at a new dawn to chart and reposition its destiny for greatness. We have resolved and firmly determined to consolidate on industrialising Nigeria and diversifying its economy into sectors such as agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, petro-chemicals, food processing and textiles,” the President said.
He told the investors that his government would spare no effort in ensuring that Nigeria sustains its credentials as the preferred and number one investment destination in Africa as well as the country with the fourth highest investment returns in the world. “Nigeria has what it takes to make a break-through and there is more to Nigeria than oil. It is a blessed land rich in agricultural and mineral resources coupled with skilled and low-cost labour, large market, robust and competitive private sector.”
The Nigerian leader thanked Mr. Pierre Gattaz, president of MEDEF, organisers of the French-Nigeria Business Forum, for creating the platform and mobilising the investors, saying that he would look forward to their business trips to Nigeria in three weeks’ time.