October 6, 2015

Buhari plans diversification of Nigeria’s economy in 2016 budget

Buhari plans diversification of Nigeria’s economy in 2016 budget

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration would enact new policies to diversify Nigeria’s economy from oil to other sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

The diversification, according to the President, will be captured in the 2016 national budget.

President Buhari gave the hints at a meeting with a delegation of French investors under the aegis of Movement of the Enterprises of France, MEDEF, led by its President, Mr. Pierre Gattaz, in Abuja, yesterday.

It will be recalled that President Buhari had, during his visit to Paris three weeks ago, met with the investors who assured him of a visit to Nigeria on investment survey.

President Buhari said the policies currently being evolved by his administration would boost domestic manufacturing and attract greater investment to Nigeria’s agricultural and mining sectors.

He urged Mr. Gattaz and the French trade mission, which houses over 50 companies with interest in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure development and other areas, to return to Nigeria next year and take full advantage of the new policies.

Raising hope of stamping out insecurity which provokes fear in foreign investors, President Buhari also assured the French investors  that under his leadership, Nigeria would not fall short of international standards in the protection of foreign investments and the repatriation of returns on such investments.

He said: “We are doing  our utmost best to encourage diversification into non-oil sectors, which can employ a lot of people and we will welcome your support in this regard.”

“Ultimately, reducing unemployment will also help to improve security because unemployment and insecurity are inseparable,” President Buhari told the French investors.”

A statement by the Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu further quoted the President as saying “that Nigeria will also welcome more French investments in its power sector”, stressing that ”availability of steady power supply will lead to the reopening of closed factories and the creation of more jobs.”

The statement also assured the delegation that the present administration was tackling corruption with vigour to ensure greater probity in the management of national resources.

The MEDEF President, who spoke on behalf of the French investors, had earlier raised concerns on the safety of their planned investments in Nigeria and the easing of bureaucratic bottlenecks.