By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured foreign investors who would venture into Nigeria from now on that fiscal policies would be more favourable, predictable and measurably tilted towards creating harmonious business environment.
Buhari gave the assurance yesterday in Paris, France, while holding meetings with leaders industry leaders, urging other investors to further explore vast opportunities of human and natural resources in Nigeria.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari held meetings with Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Total, Patrick Pouyanne; Executive Vice President, AirBus, Silvere Delaunay; and Chairman of the Board of a software company, Daussault Systems, Florence Verzelen.
Others were Chairman/CEO of General Engineering and Marketing of Telecommunications Operator, Francois-Regis Teze and Chairman/CEO, Donaflex Automotive, Dr Donatus Nwokoye, a very successful manufacturer.
In a meeting with the delegation from Total, Buhari said the outlook and potentials for growth in the country have remained steadily positive, affirming the government’s commitment to scale up operating standards and policies that encourage mutual benefits.
“We are very pleased with the evolving trends in technology, which is currently driving development across the world and Nigeria. Nigeria is more a gas country than a crude oil producing country. In the 80’s we generated more from gas, than crude oil.
“In the 80’s, we were earning more from gas for some years, and had put in place structures. We intend to further explore the gas sector. I am pleased with your consistency in staying in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Buhari said investors should take advantage of the natural and human resources, pointing out that the demographics favour development, with more young people who are eager to be gainfully engaged and trained.
“We need to educate the youth and encourage more skills in technology. Technology has been most impactful in all sectors, including the oil and gas, which has witnessed rapid transformation in exploration, processing and distribution,’’ he added.
He thanked the Chief Executive Officer of Total for the company’s consistency and expansion in Nigeria since 1956, assuring that the government will enhance fiscal stability that will favour investors.
Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, said Total had confirmed long term investments in Nigeria, and had consistently exceeded targets in gas production.
He said the NNPC had already designed solutions to some of the challenges in the oil and gas sector, particularly on tax.
In his remarks, Pouyanne told Buhari of the readiness of the company to stay in Nigeria, and further expand interest in oil, gas, solar and other commodities that will directly impact the lives of citizens.
He said investors had been eagerly waiting for the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as it will send a strong signal of more predictability.
“Total is very committed to Nigeria. We have no intention of leaving Nigeria,’’ he said.
President Buhari also received in audience the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde who came to brief him on the regional security and political situation in the Horn of Africa.
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