Envoy explains invitation of French investors, others to business forum

Nigerian Ambassador to France, Dr. Modupe Irele, has disclosed that French companies and local investors were invited to the Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum in Abuja to facilitate the ease of doing business and provide a platform for direct engagement with policy makers, regulators and the business community in the country.

She stated this yesterday in a welcome address to the three-day forum in Abuja. Irele said: “This initiative builds on the growing economic relation between France and Nigeria as underscored by the inaugural meeting of the France, Nigeria Investment Club held on January 21, 2019 in Paris, where significant steps were taken to further strengthen the economic relations between both countries.

“It is envisaged that the Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum will provide a platform for further interaction in areas of common economic interest leading to increased commercial activities.”The first female Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France explained that the theme of the forum, ‘Investment Opportunities in Nigeria from Talk to Action’, reflected the move to concrete action in stimulating investment and business between the two countries.

According to her, the 27 French business personalities that visited Nigeria for the highly interactive programme will be obliged in-depth information on the practical steps for conducting business in Nigeria and to engage directly with key policy makers and relevant government representatives.

The forum, she added, is expected to provide a medium for French and Nigerian business communities to interact and to explore partnerships as well as facilitate information sharing.

In his keynote address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sunday Akpan, told the forum that Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million and a vast arable land with abundant natural and human resources, had become the investment destination in Sub Saharan Africa.

Akpan said the present administration had empowered several business-related agencies such as the Bank of Industry (BoI), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as well as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to put in place programmes geared towards the promotion of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

He explained that government also encouraged non-oil investment through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which has begun to yield fruits.In a chat, a French investor, Fatoumato Jannoo, told The Guardian that she was not bothered about the security threats in Nigeria.She noted: “Security issues are part of the risks to be taken by a businessman. So it is relative.”