By Prince Osuagwu
THE Federal Government’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) seems to be yielding positive result. Both old and new foreign investors are currently indicating positive interest in strengthening or expanding their existing business concerns in the country.
For instance, last week, one of the world’s leading retail foreign exchange companies, Travelex, renewed its commitment to seeing Nigeria’s economy stabilize with the visit of top executives of it UK outfit.
Although the company said it has committed to the economic growth of the country for 33 years running, it also promised to provide cutting edge technology that can help the government actualise the cashless Nigeria initiative, much as it would renew investment drive to help in stabilizing the country’s economy .
The company said this vision and strive to match words with action have seen its UK top executives embarking on business visits to the country twice in less than six months.
First was in May this year when the global Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Travelex Group UK Ltd, Peter Jackson visited with a firm commitment to contribute to the Nigerian economy through foreign currency trade and partnership with authorities to fight counterfeiting.
Jackson was bold to say that though the security situation in the country was challenging to investors, it was not peculiar to Nigeria as even London and other business hubs in the world have their own cross to carry.
For him, “Travelex has been operating in Nigeria for 33years. I think we’ve got a great opportunity to expand our business in the country and to further explore the opportunity to expand our frontiers. We are trying to do some other things that we do in other parts of the world.
“I don’t want to pretend that there are no security issues in Nigeria, but it is not peculiar to Nigeria. In Indonesia, Malaysia, New York and London, in all of these places, they all have security challenges. I think what is important is to think seriously about how to deal with them. It is not a unique issue”, Jackson added.
Less than six months after this statement of confidence in Nigeria’s business climate, Chairman and Founder of Travelex, Lloyd Dorfman, came to see things for himself and going by his pronouncements, it could only be better for Travelex and Nigeria.
Dorfman’s courtesy visits to business interests and places in the country came up with a bold statement that Travelex was interested in expanding its business operations in the country.
The first beneficiary of the expansion programme is the nation’s aviation sector where air travellers and airport users would be provided with seamless retail foreign exchange services comparable to what obtains in other international and domestic airports worldwide.
The implication is that air travellers in the country will have access to a basket of more than 80 currencies thereby solving their travel money needs in a stress free environment. This will be achieved through setting up bureaux and installation of world-class equipment and technologies in all the major airports around the country by Travelex.
Mr. Dorfman believes that with the company’s cutting-edge technology in the provision of foreign exchange ATMs, Travelex value addition presence in the country’s airports would help to boost the country’s cashless initiative.
While at the Ministry of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, Aviation Minister expressed optimism at the prospects of partnering with Travelex to enhance Nigerians’ travel experience.
“We are looking for foreign investors, so we are extremely excited about this opportunity to work with you. We are embarking on very ambitious expansion programme of our airports, with the rehabilitation, reconstruction and remodelling of the old terminals”.
One area where the expansion programme of Travelex would benefit the country is in the area of employment as many Nigerians would be hired to man the bureaux de change in the airports. Travelex is currently trading in over 80 currencies and does business in over 50 countries (including Nigeria), helping more than 37million customers to send and spend money around the world. It is present in over 100 airports globally.