President Bola Tinubu has urged Saudi Arabian investors to invest in Nigeria, saying the corruption associated with the country’s foreign exchange policy has been cleared.
Tinubu said with his team in place, every negative perception or notion about what Nigeria has represented in the past with respect to the ease of doing business, monetary policy, and trade cooperation is no longer applicable now and in the future.
The president said this in a meeting with the Captains of Saudi Arabian Industry at the Nigeria-Saudi Investment Roundtable in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
He said: “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 people.”
Also speaking, Saudi Arabia’s Trade and Investment Minister, Kahlid El-Falih, noted the passion and candid expression of the Nigerian leader, saying after listening to President Tinubu 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,” El-Falih was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale.
On his part, Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister, Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, previewed how Saudi Arabia can further contribute to the soft infrastructural reforms needed to unlock game-changing quantums of foreign direct investment in Nigeria.
He stated: “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.”
The Chairman of Dangote Industries, Aliko Dangote, told Saudi investors that Nigeria, under the leadership of President Tinubu, will be unearthed to the world as a foremost global investment haven.
Dangote said: “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.”