Nigeria has what it takes to attract and sustain Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), President Muhammadu Buhari told international investors in Paris, France yesterday.
He said his administration was widening the space for investment.
The Federal Government, Buhari said, plans to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure upgrade, grant tax holiday and facilitate stress-fee repatriation of profits to stimulate investors’ interest in the economy.
The President also said the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) will liberalise the oil and gas sector and open it up for private sector-driven investments.
Besides the tax holiday, Buhari said investors in the sector will have access to interest-free credit facilities.
Unfolding the nation’s new economic outlook and security efforts of his administration in a remark at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, the president said: “Recognising the importance of security to a nation’s risk profile, we re-assessed and updated our National Security Strategy in 2019.
“The implementation of this multi-sectoral strategy has contributed to the progress we have made in fighting insurgents and terrorists in the Northeast of the country.
“Working closely with international partners, we are firmly addressing the root causes of crimes, and taking measures to prevent and counter violent extremism.”
The President, who described Nigeria as the gateway for investments in Africa, urged investors to take advantage of the PIA and the country’s new drive for FDI.
Announcing some of the incentives in the PIA, he said: “In the oil and gas sector, I recently signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The legislation, which is expected to serve as a liberalising force in the industry, introduced incentives such as tax holidays, zero-interest loans, and easy repatriation of profits.
“Our plan is to increase Liquefied Natural Gas (NLG) exports and expand our domestic market. Partnerships in textile and leather processing, tourism, and health sectors are also areas we can explore.
“In the agricultural sector, through our Anchor Borrowers Programme, we provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, leading to the expansion in the number of rice mills in Nigeria from 10 in 2014 to 40 today.
“The country has also increased the number of active fertiliser blending plants to more than forty-six, from fewer than five in 2014. Similarly, we have set aside several million hectares of land for agriculture, and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country.”
On FDI, he said Nigeria will open its doors to investors, which will be backed by the rule of law and practical security policies.
He said: “I am proud to reiterate our resolve to reduce and ultimately eliminate obstacles to access and retention of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“Our investment-friendly policies are backed by the rule of law, practical security policies and a resilient population.
“Let me finally stress that Nigeria is open for partnership and cooperation. I invite the French business community to take advantage of the vast investment opportunities in Africa’s largest economy.
“As our development partners, rest assured that we will stand together with you throughout our partnership journey to guarantee our mutual interest.
“As I said at the fifth edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival.
“With this in mind, we have incorporated the Public-Private Partnership model into our economic recovery plan, to attract private sector participation in the financing and operations of critical economic and social infrastructure.
“This measure is already helping to mitigate COVID-19 triggered capital flight and decline in grant and development financing.
“Once again, I sincerely appreciate the time taken by our friends and partners to be here today, and the confidence reposed in Nigeria as the gateway for investments in Africa.”
Unfolding plans to support investment drive with about $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure, the President said: “Also, at the just concluded COP26 in Glasgow, I stressed the link between modern infrastructure and the overall economic development of a nation.