President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has re-assured Saudi Arabian captains of industry that the policies impeding the ease of doing business, monetary matters, and trade co-operation in Nigeria have now been modified.
He gave the re-assurance in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during his engagement with them at the Nigeria-Saudi Investment Roundtable.
He affirmed: “I believe in this team that I have brought from Nigeria. When I took office, I declared the immediate commencement of bold and fundamental economic reforms. We have executed them, and we sustain the reform process. Today, I declare that red tape is gone!
“I believe in the full application of free market economics. Your money will flow easily in and easily out. The arbitrage around our nation’s old foreign exchange policy regime and the corruption that was associated with it is also gone!
“We took on those bold endeavours from day one in preparation for serious investors like you seated here. The greatest opportunity for any entity to prosper lies in its human capital. My team is prepared. We can produce. Our market is full of Nigerian youths who are brilliant, highly educated, industrious, and passionate about innovation and engagement with world-class services.
“The navigation of the ship of this great nation lies in the membership seated here. We are ready to answer all of your questions directly, even into this night if need be. The sky is not just the limit, but it is the destination for our two countries and peoples”.
Saudi Arabia’s Trade and Investment Minister, Kahlid El-Falih, noted the passion and candid expression of President Tinubu, saying that after listening to the President speak from his heart without any written remarks about what is possible between the two nations, Nigerians can expect that the Saudi investment community will respond not in words alone, but with substantial new investment across several sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“The Minister of Commerce and I will be visiting Nigeria either before the end of this year or very early next year with a very large delegation of Saudi CEOs from all key sectors. We know you are ready for business, so we do not want to come to Nigeria for any exploratory discussion. We are coming for implementation. It is an action visit.
“Mr. President, you agree with me that good intentions alone will not take us anywhere, so we will prepare well with your team and our investors will align with your officials, beginning now, to develop a concrete work plan of investments in the key sectors for takeoff when we meet again. When we meet soon in Abuja, it will be to sign and begin delivery on all agreements. We will also use the opportunity to formally inaugurate the Nigeria-Saudi Business Council.
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister, Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, previewed how Saudi Arabia could further contribute to the soft infrastructural reforms needed to unlock game-changing quantums of foreign direct investment in Nigeria.
“We have signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum on the reform of the services sector in Africa. In developed economies, the services sector contributes enormously to GDP. But in the developing world, we tend to focus on goods. So, we would like to make Nigeria the pilot country in this agreement with WEF to study Nigeria’s service challenges to make it seamless and make the supply chains across sectors streamlined and raised to international standard to enhance Nigeria’s economic and investment viability over the long-term,” he stated.
Chairman of Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote told Saudi investors that Nigeria, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, would be unearthed to the world as a foremost global investment haven.
“What I always say about Nigeria is that it is the world’s best kept secret in terms of investments and returns. We are also looking to ensure that our investments are a two-way process. Nigerian companies have a lot of value to add to the Saudi economy, and we look forward to working together in expanding our Nigerian operations as well. The soon coming launch of the Nigeria-Saudi Business Council will be a huge opportunity for both countries to expand on what has been established here.
At the Investor Roundtable, Chief Executive Officers from several Saudi conglomerates specialising in construction, finance, new and traditional energy, healthcare, agriculture, electric power, mining, aviation, telecommunications, creative arts, and hospitality were present and made their exploratory pitches to President Tinubu on areas of tangible collaboration.
Taking notes, the President listened carefully with eyes fixed on each investor as they made their contributions concerning new investment opportunities in Africa’s largest market.
“I have listened to all of you very intently, and I am not only impressed, but I am determined to be your partner in progress and prosperity. Nigeria will reward your faith. Our people are ready, and we will not disappoint,” President Tinubu concluded.
The Nigerian government delegation comprised of the Executive Governors of Bauchi, Niger and Katsina States; Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun; Minister of Budget & Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu; Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite; Minister of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani; Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Abubakar Kyari; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs & Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu; and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri.
The Nigerian business delegation comprised of the Chairman of Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman of the Chagoury Group, Ambassador Gilbert Chagoury; President of Flour Mills Nigeria, Mr. John Coumantaros; CEO of Oando Energy Company, Mr. Wale Tinubu and many others.