Association to promote Nigeria’s trade ties with Portugal
THE profile of Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment Inflow (DFI) may receive added impetus soon from Portuguese investors, whose delegation to the country was exposed to untapped opportunities inherent in agriculture, power, real estate, manufacturing and construction.
The delegation, led by the country’s chamber of commerce, under the Nigeria-Portugal Friendship and Business Association, was received by the Portuguese Ambassador to Nigeria, Antonio Pedro Rodrigues da Silva, in Lagos.
The association’s Foundation Member and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, in his address at the forum, said the association, which started two years ago, has organised several seminars and conferences in both countries with the aim of boosting bilateral and economic ties.
Lemo, while listing opportunities in the offing for the investors, reiterated that the country’s challenges notwithstanding, it has maintained the growth trajectory and ranked sixth among 20 fastest growing economies in the world, with expected growth rate of 4.9 per cent in 2015.
He told the delegation that investors who are familiar with Nigeria’s political terrain are currently investing more and defying speculations, knowing that whichever government emerges, their interests are still protected.
Citing a United Nations’ agency report, which ranked returns on investment in Nigeria as fourth in the world, the former bank chief assured that once they get their models right, they cannot be wrong in their choice of investment destination in the country.
He pointed out that investments in power, agriculture, real estate, manufacturing and construction are still up for grabs, as they offer enormous value chain opportunities which will readily deliver returns.
The ambassador however, expressed gratitude that the whole initiative is civil society-led and aimed at promoting bilateral relationship, which is capable of benefiting both countries mutually.
According to him, Nigeria’s economy is solidly growing and represents an opportunity for Portuguese companies that are looking for opportunities outside the country’s shores to expand their capacity.
He pointed out that the possibility and potentials of Nigeria is self-evident to global investors and showed that it is a country to be, adding that the new private sector-led initiative represents a new phase of both countries economic relationship.
He assured of the support of the embassy and the readiness of his country to also welcome investors from Nigeria, as well as ensure that a tangible result is reached in the whole process of facilitating the relationship.
Also, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Rasheed Olaoluwa, said the development finance institution is ever ready for viable opportunities arising from FDIs, as it has total risk assets in excess of N800 billion already.
Olaoluwa, who was represented by the Executive Director, Waheed Olagunju, assured that BoI has the capacity to mobilise resources in collaboration with other regional and multilateral institutions like the African Development Bank, BNDES of Brazil, IDC of South Africa, among others.
The bank chief noted that BoI is also ready to cooperate with Portuguese development finance institutions to finance any initiative, adding that the investors must be convincing with right model and figures.