A Nigeria-Morocco business meeting in Lagos has seen different government agencies and representatives of the Nigerian business community making efforts to pitch the viability of doing business in the country despite recession which according to many stakeholders, is an opportunity which investors should take advantage of.“These are difficult times and you may ask yourself, why should I come to Nigeria?” Yewande Sadiku, executive secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Comission (NIPC), asked rhetorically.
Sadiku went further to explain that history had shown many companies that venture into Nigeria at times when things were considered hard in the country, in the end, have seen their investments in Nigeria turn out to be among the best in their investment portfolios. Using the example of a particular telecomm company, Sadiku explained that some staff that made the decision to set it up in Nigeria were sacked, but today, their investment in Nigeria has turned out to be the company’s best investment decision by a long mile.
Laoye Jaiyeola, CEO, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), one of the organisations at the forefront of the renewed calls for increased Nigeria-Morocco business relations, explained that trade between both countries was barely $100 million. The meeting he hoped, would open up a new chapter for increase in trade.
Jaiyeola, when asked for specifics on the potential value of increased trade between Nigeria and Morocco and increasing the present $100 million, said: “I don’t know. I just know that we must grow it and it takes all of us to put our hands on deck to grow it. Everybody should grow whatever it is.”
“For us our works are based on evidence and things that can be proven,” said Jaiyeola who in this instance was unable to respond in showing NESG had data and factual research to demonstrate just how much value the increase in bilateral trade being promoted could potentially achieve from the present $100 million. “We have the potential to build a new shared future which will link businesses and create jobs,” said Miriem Bensalah, Chaqroun, president of CGEM.
Bensalah also explained that for Nigeria-Morocco trade relations to improve, the number of direct flights from Casablanca to Lagos (presently one), need to be increased to encourage more members of the Moroccan business community to regularly visit Nigeria in exploring investment and bilateral trade opportunities.
Sidi Aliyu, who represented Segun Awolowo, CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), explained that there are business-friendly provisions in Nigerian laws to ensure investors get value for their money and have sustainable businesses. He also said that a business may be registered to target only the domestic market 100 percent or set up to target the export market and doing this has a guarantee of 100 percent retention of export proceeds, as well as repatriation (when required). “If you set up your business in Nigeria, you are not only after the 180 million people that we have in Nigeria alone, but the entire population of the ECOWAS sub-region because Nigeria, traditionally, and at present, dominates the manufacturing hub in the region. Nigerian made products are not only consumed in Nigeria, but they trickle down to most of the ECOWAS countries.”
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