The Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit billed for today and tomorrow will offer Nigeria the opportunity to develop key sectors of the economy through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the Chief Executive Officer of Prime Essentials Development and Investment Limited, Taiwo Odutola, said this in an interview with Daily Trust.
The investment company which is sponsoring the summit, in collaboration with the Nigerian High Commission in Canada, said the summit was put together to fast track development in key sectors of the economy.
Odutola said Canada being a G7 country and a member of the Commonwealth had over the years been Nigeria’s biggest trading partner which was why the forum was aimed at bringing Nigeria’s huge investment opportunities to Canadians.
“This is the first time Nigeria and Canada are having an investment summit, although other investment summits had taken place between Nigeria and other countries, which is why the Nigerian High Commission in Canada brought Prime Essentials into the picture to put in different mechanisms that will ensure development in key sectors of the economy,” Odutola said.
The CEO added that the theme of the summit: “Fostering Strong Business Partnerships into the Future”, was aimed at fostering strong business ties between Nigeria and Canada and also open investment windows to the Canadian Government and its investors who want to invest in key sectors of the economy.
A Director and key partner of Prime Essentials, Muyiwa Oduniyi, said the summit had carefully planned at a time when the government was looking at ways to diversify the economy and bring influx of FDI into the country.
Oduniyi said Nigeria needed to reach out to countries that could grow key sectors of the country through direct investment.
“The level we expect our economy to grow has not being achieved. Most of Nigeria’s investment tends to be focused on the energy sector. However, we have realised that Canada has so much to offer, especially in other sectors of the economy; apart from oil.
“The summit will focus on important sectors of the economy: infrastructure, information technology, energy, agriculture, mining, among others, and Canada has a comparative advantage in these sectors.
“Mining, for instance, is one of the key productive sectors of any economy, but it has been left untapped in Nigeria. In the last 15 years, there had been several efforts to get it working, but it has not really achieved the needed result, which is why Canadian investors are coming to Nigeria to chart a way of boosting the sector.
“Agencies that regulate and develop Nigeria’s investment potentials: the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and others will be at the summit to tell Canadian investors the different investment opportunities available in Nigeria and also highlight what government has been doing in reducing the bottlenecks in doing business, as the programme is all about showing our potentials and making a statement to the world that if they need to invest abroad, Nigeria should be the destination,” he said.
“Also, in the area of agriculture, Canada has huge potentials as it exports different agricultural products, which will help Nigeria in exploring the potentials. The benefit is that a lot of agricultural products we import will not be imported any more. In the same vein, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Bank of Agriculture of Nigeria (BOA) will be interacting with the Canadian investors in showcasing more of what the agency is doing in developing the sector, as well as explain the policies put in place to develop SMEs, challenges, as well as the way forward,” he further said.
He added that as the 2019 elections were approaching, the submit would provide a platform for Nigeria to convince investors on the need to do business and also encourage foreign investors who were doubtful of investing in the country.
Source: Daily Trust