By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
ABUJA – The Nigerian High Commission in Canada, in collaboration with Prime Essentials Development & Investment Ltd (PEDI), launched the first Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit (NCIS) which was held on November 5th to 6th, 2018 at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja with the theme: Fostering Strong Business Partnerships into The Future.
The summit brought together the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Ryan Ward, Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Abubakar Bawa, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, William Babatunde Fowler, Executuve Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ade Shonubi, Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Industry Players, Canadian Investors, Nigerian Enterpreneurs and Diaspora living in Canada.
Prof. Yemi Osibanjo been a guest speaker said that Nigeria and Canada has a long history as Commonwealth members, and has been promoting peace in the global community with a consistent track record of supporting the United Nation peace keeping mission.
The Vice President further said that the summit is also a platform for both country to deepen their cooperation as Nigeria has become Canada’s largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him, in the past years the government created reforms to improve the Nigerian business environment part of which is the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council aimed to removing the challenges faced by investors interested to doing business in Nigeria.
The Committee according to him, was charged with progressively removing the challenge face by investors in doing business in Nigeria and ensure coordination across several ministries and agencies of government. “With the supports of the leadership of the National assembly and state government, we were able to drive reforms that held us a place as one of the World’s 10 hub performing economy”, he added.
He said the recent visit of Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada will further strengthen both country’s bilateral relationship.
He assured the Canadian investors of incentives and conducive environment needed for their investments to thrive, and affirmed the tremendous opportunities for increased scope of trade and investment between Canada and Nigeria.
He also noted that the Nigeria Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government has identified some of the sectors that many Canadian investors are already familiar with as priority sectors. These according to him include; power generation, development of gas to power, mining and solid minerals. Others are; agriculture, food processing, manufacturing and real estate.
“Towards the achievement of ERGP, we conducted focus labs which are special intervention targeted at resolving specific bureaucratic bottlenecks facing large scale investments in Nigeria”, he further explained.
He informed participants at the Summit that Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is in the process of building a data base of investment opportunities across Nigeria to guide potential investors.
In his address, the Hon. Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari said the history of Nigerian Mining Reform cannot be complete without mentioning the positive roles that Canada, and Canadians played in helping to midwife it, giving it direction and protection.
The Minister said that Nigeria mining relationship with Canada dated back to 2013, when Canada and its firms provided training and critical expertise to the sector before the relationship took a turn for the worse, according to him.
He however made known that the country is currently witnessing the gradual return of Canadian Mining Companies into Nigeria Mining jurisdiction. “One of the more famous ones is Thor Explorations Limited which is continuing with its mine development and exploration works over Segilola Gold Project in Ilesha, Osun State.” He also made reference to James Bay Resources Ltd whose interest had been in Bitumen and recently in Lead Zinc.
The Minister said the vast opportunities that exist in both the down and upstream sectors of Nigeria mineral development are clearer and ready for exploitation. “Many analysts have noted, that Nigeria is still essentially a Greenfield with a variety of mineral types and some of the highest grades of minerals anywhere in the world”.
Noting the challenge of infrastructure in mining, the Minister revealed that Nigerian government has initiated a partnering scheme with the private sector for the provision of infrastructure through the National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan. He encouraged Canadian investors to go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with government in order to provide needed infrastructure.
He affirmed high grade of many mineral types deposits in Nigeria as he listed government incentives on mining investments to include; a conducive investment climate comprising 100% ownership of mining project as guaranteed by the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007; waivers for customs and import duties for plant, machinery and equipment imported for mining operations as well as tax holidays of three to five years.
Others according to him are; free transferability of funds and permission to retain and use earned foreign exchange; Capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure and deductibility of Environmental Costs.
Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada said that Nigeria offers attractive Return of Investment (ROI) for investors with an investor friendly climate.
“As a nation we have made bold and meaning reforms that has improved our ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Nigeria also have the largest market for goods and services of over three hundred million in Africa with easy access to west African sub-region.”
“The Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit is inspired by the Federal Government Economic Diploma Initiative which is aimed at supporting Nigerian economy and growth plan,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, the Deputy High Commissioner, Canada High Commission, Nigeria, Ryan Ward said with the shifting wind in international trade, Canada considered it beneficial to explore the potentials in Nigeria and establish a strong trade and investment relationship that would be of mutual benefits to both countries.