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March 4, 2024

Nigeria, Qatar sign agreements on education, solid minerals, others

Nigeria, Qatar sign agreements on education, solid minerals, others

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

President Bola Tinubu yesterday in Doha said Nigerian youths were worth every investment as they are educated, reliable and proactive.

He argued that a few bad eggs could not be a yardstick for gauging the capacity of the majority who, he said, were “ready to be unleashed for the mutual benefit of both nations.”

Tinubu said these when he and the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, witnessed the signing of seven landmark agreements between both nations after closed-door talks at the Presidential Palace in Doha.

The seven agreements signed are a cooperation agreement in the field of education; regulation of employment of workers with the government of Qatar; establishment of a joint business council between the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture; in addition to a cooperation agreement in the field of youths and sports.

The other agreements are cooperation in the field of tourism and business events and a memorandum of understanding combating illicit trade in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The documents were signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, and relevant officials in the Government of the State of Qatar, Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education and Higher Education; Dr. Ahmad Al-Hammadi, Secretary General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Abdullah bin Khalaf bin Hattab Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed this in a statement titled ‘President Tinubu welcomes multi-sectoral agreements with Qatar: Set to receive Qatar’s investment team in Abuja.’

Before the signing ceremony, President Tinubu assured his host of Nigeria’s preparedness to welcome investors into the country, noting the ongoing reforms that favour innovation, return on investments, and multiculturalism.
He said: “Our greatest strength is our people. Our strength lies in the capacity of Nigerian youths. They have energy, talent, and self-belief. They are quality partners for the Qatari industry.

“They are educated and reliable, and they are proactively seeking to add value wherever they are. A few cannot give a bad name to the many. Nigerian youths are ready to be unleashed for the mutual benefit of both nations.”

He commended the Qatari government for its developmental mileage saying “We have seen clearly the rapid pace and thorough quality of Qatar’s development process. It is impossible not to be moved by what you have accomplished. The leadership in the country has proven its mettle, and we are here to gain deeper insight.”

Nonetheless, he insisted that “There is nowhere in the world where you will find return on investment at the level of what you will see in Nigeria,” adding that “A massive market of over 200 million skilled Nigerians, always industrious and ready to work.”

The President admitted that although Nigeria faces some short-term turbulence at the moment, its current government reflects the dynamism and talent of the Nigerian people.

“We are implementing the right solutions. This team works collaboratively with each other and our partners. Nigeria is ready for serious business,” the President affirmed.

The Emir of the State of Qatar stressed that Qatar is open to President Tinubu’s investment push, recalling that he travelled to Nigeria in 2019 owing to his belief that Nigeria is an important and strategic ally on its own and within the context of its role in regional affairs.

“I do not doubt the great capacity of the Nigerian people. Everywhere in the world, they are known for their brilliance and hard work. We only need to ensure that this is happening inside of Nigeria rather than outside.

“The investments we have made around the world have been very fruitful. This is because we take our time and study opportunities before we invest in the commonwealth of our people. It is not my money. The money we invest belongs to the future generations of Qatar,” said Al Thani.

The monarch stated that he is “very encouraged” by Tinubu’s “actions and passion to create new opportunities.”
However, he said both countries must meet each other halfway in terms of follow-up efforts to make the partnership work.

Consequently, he promised to send Qatari officials to Abuja after Ramadan for further engagement.
“We are very open to this, and follow-up is everything at this point. The will is there for both of us, but we must follow up.

“I will send a team of officials to Nigeria after Ramadan, and we will advance discussions on what some of the actionable investment opportunities are,” the Qatari leader said.
On his part, President Tinubu named the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun, as the leader of the government team that will interface with Qatari authorities in investment identification and implementation moving forward.
Furthermore, during the bilateral deliberations, the President enabled a brief presentation to the Emir by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, who spoke in detail about the high grade of several minerals, including lithium, immediately derivable across the country with an emphasis on imminent opportunities for local mineral processing and value-additive industry in the sector.

Nigerian ministers who were present at the ceremony were: Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun; Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake; Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr. Ekperipe Ekpo.

Also at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, and Special Adviser on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen.

Tinubu to Qatar investors: Report any member of my cabinet asking for bribe

Meanwhile, President Tinubu has told international investors, especially those from Qatar, to report to him any government officials that demand bribe from them.

He also assured the international business community that Nigeria was ready for serious business as his administration would deal decisively with any and all entrenched interests in the country that undermined investor’s confidence in the country’s economy.

He reiterated his preparedness to remove all bottlenecks standing in the way of a profitable and legitimate enterprise.

Speaking at the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Doha, yesterday, Tinubu told Qatari investors that Africa’s largest economy and its systems were being reformed and upgraded, and asked Qatar’s captains of industry to report any government official who demands a bribe or any form of inducement at any point in their business endeavour, moving forward, with full assurance of their direct access to the President’s Office.

He said: “I am here to assure you that reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past. Whatever the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced, it is in the past because there is no obstacle in the future.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our people, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me. Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward, do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest.

“Nigeria is serious about revolutionizing investment promotion. We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles. We have done so much within nine months. And I assure you, it is free entry and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our country. Bring your investments.”

He noted that the war against corruption and insecurity in Nigeria had been significantly strengthened with the appointment of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, as National Security Adviser, NSA.