26 May 2014, Lagos – The federal government has sealed two agreements that would help to facilitate investment cooperation as well as fast-track the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
While one of the agreements was between Nigeria and China, which is aimed at encouraging and supporting Chinese enterprises to invest in Nigeria; the second agreement was with Canada to help Nigerian and Canadian investors secure access to both countries without encumbrances.
Speaking during the signing of the first agreement with representatives from the Chinese government in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said it was critical to seal the agreement since China is the number one exporter into Nigeria.
He said: “China is the number one exporter into Nigeria. So, it is in our best interest to have stronger and deeper relationship with China.
“This MoU with China we have signed today is very critical in terms of helping achieving that goal of facilitating investment between the two countries.
“After signing the MoU, the next milestone is to organise a strategic investment promotion event with China-Africa Development Fund clients in China and introduce them to the investment opportunities in Nigeria so that we can bring them to invest in the real sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
On the agreement with Canada, the minister described the pact as “a historic moment for the country” as it would help to explore further partnership opportunities and lead to greater prosperity for both countries.
The minister said: “This is a very historic moment for both countries.
We are signing an investment and protection agreement and this is the first time we are signing this.
“It is historic because this is a bottleneck for Canadian investors because investors want an environment of certainty and they also want their investment to be protected.”
He said with the consummation of the deal with Canada, the cost of economic risk as well as cost of investments would be significantly reduced.
The Canadian Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, said the foreign investment promotion and protection agreement would secure access to Canadian market with its abundant supply of resources, technological expertise, and low tax business environment.
He said the deal would also give Canadian companies the confidence they needed in taking advantage of the many growing opportunities in Nigeria.
He said as a result of the new pact, four major investment would be made by some Canadian and Nigerian companies.
Some of them are a $5 billion joint venture between SkyPower Global and FAS Energy for the production of clean, sustainable cost-effective renewable energy to support the growing energy needs of the country;and the launch of a solar powered laptop computers in Nigeria by WeWi Telecommunications.
In his remarks, the Vice-Governor, China Development Bank, Mr. Wang Yongsheng, said the Chinese MoU with Nigeria had laid a solid foundation for deepening of the current and future relationship between both counties.
He said: “As at the first quarter of 2014, our total asset was $1.3trillion, with our clients spread across about 110 countries.
“Our loan balance for Africa as at the first quarter of 2014, was $19.3bn. Africa is our priority and Nigeria is very critical as an area of focus.
“The MOU has laid a solid foundation for deepening and strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and China now and in the future.”
– This Day