*** assures investors of favourable business climate
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Paris: President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Paris, France, told the French business community and investors that there was more to Nigeria that just oil exploration.
President Buhari stated that the country was greatly blessed with lands rich in agricultural and mineral resources coupled with skilled and low-cost labour, large market, robust and competitive private sector, stressing that the areas remained largely untapped.
He also stated that other critical areas, such as agriculture, energy, automobile and skill development needed to be expanded to provide jobs for the youths.
President Buhari spoke at a gathering of investors at the Nigerian-France presidential business forum which held at the headquarters of the French Business Confederation (MEDEF) in Paris.
President Buhari who urged the French investors to explore vast untapped natural deposits in Nigeria submitted that the idea behind his aggressive campaign against insurgency was to create a safe haven for local and foreign business and investments.
President Buhari recalled that Nigeria and France already have a cordial trade partnership,saying that both countries needed to exceed their annual trade volume of $5billion.
According to him, the long standing economic ties between the two countries which dates back to 1902 when the CFO set up a training programme in Lagos State.
He also promised evolve a competitive, virile, productive economy based on excellence, integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law.
“It is a positive development that today Nigeria is the largest trading partner with France in Africa.
But opportunities abound to greatly increase the current $5billion annual trade volume and I fully agree with President Hollande when he declared in February, 2014 in Abuja that trade volume between both countries should double in four years.
“Today many French companies are happy to have flourishing businesses in Nigeria, opportunities abound to greatly increase the $5billion annual trade volume between the two countries”
“Nigeria is now at a new dawn to chart and reposition its destiny for greatness. We are resolved and firmly determined to consolidate on industrializing Nigeria and diversifying its economy into sectors such as agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, petro-chemicals, food processing and textiles.
“Nigeria has what it takes to make a break-through and there is more to Nigeria than oil. It is a blessed land rich in agricultural and mineral resources coupled with skilled and low-cost labour, large market, robust and competitive private sector”, he said.
The President also expressed his gratitude to President of the Movement of French Entrepreneurs (MEDEF), Mr Pierre Gattaz, organizers of the French-Nigeria Business Forum for making the gathering a possibility.
He stated that he was looking forward to hosting the French business community in three weeks time.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Gattaz who described Nigeria as the biggest economy in Nigeria expressed their readiness to do business in Nigeria.
He noted that electoral victory of president Buhari was one way of taking Nigeria out of the economic doldrums, assuring the president of their support through businesses and investments in the country.