Of Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed hope that the recently launched eNaira would stimulate and reposition the Nigerian economy to attract investors.
He also said that the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) initiatives have bolstered his administration’s anti-corruption efforts.
Speaking at the fifth edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Buhari assured that his administration would encourage public and private initiatives that increase investments in health, education, capacity building, l youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.
“E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a central bank digital currency was launched on October 25, 2021. We believe that this reform and many others will help us to increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, to make the financial sector more efficient and to fight against the flow of illicit funds. To further strengthen our fight against corruption, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralized government funds through a single treasury account and ensure that all Nigerians with a bank account use a Bank Verification Number (BVN) unique. These initiatives, coupled with our National National Identification Number (NIN) exercise, strengthen our efforts to fight corruption and fraud. We think this should reassure investors. “
The president, who called the summit credible forum for interaction between public and private sectors, to explore ways to advance economic growth, development and global prosperity, said Nigeria’s diversification efforts continued to deliver results, especially in agriculture.
“We have introduced policies that have supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We have provided loans and technical support to smallholder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers program. As a result, Nigeria now has more than 40 rice mills compared to less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has more than 46 active fertilizer blending factories out of less than 5 in 2014.
“In addition, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizers and seeds. We have several million hectares of arable land available and we have embarked on the creation of special agricultural processing zones across the country. These initiatives, we believe, will make it easier for investors in agriculture, ”he said.
President Buhari told the assembly of world leaders, global investors and asset managers that the oil sector is already undergoing reform that would make it more attractive and inclusive.
“Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It introduced a number of incentives such as tax exemptions, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans, and easy money transfer. In addition, we have a highly skilled workforce in the country and a large domestic market. In the mining sector, we have also made several opportunities available to investors. Nigeria is a country rich in gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many more. We have streamlined the licensing process and made significant investments in rail and transportation.
“Investments in infrastructure represent great potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewables and many more. We have created several institutions available to co-invest with you in Nigeria. We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently I approved the creation of the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions for making investments in the country and are available to co-invest with you.
Buhari called for greater interest in infrastructure such as health care and education, which “present enormous opportunities for investors in a country of our size.”
The President also drew the attention of world leaders to the devastating effect of climate change on the livelihoods of people living around Lake Chad.
“As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many African countries are already facing the challenges posed by climate change. Climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular migration of young people, rising sea levels, drought and desertification, as well as the drying up of Lake Chad.
“In the Lake Chad Basin region, where the Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of Lake Chad which has shrunk. more than 85% of its original size. . The shrinking size of the lake is causing the loss of millions of livelihoods, the displacement of residents and the radicalization of the teeming youth of the region who are being recruited to serve as infantry in the insurgency.
“In order to To remedy this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, a strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to replenish the waters of Lake Chad. I am convinced that this forum will meet the challenge in the interest of sustainable peace and sustainable development in our region.