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Jonathan assures international investors on security

By The Citizen
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President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday reiterated his assurance to  investors that Nigeria is winning the war against terrorism and the country's climate is conducive for investments.

He spoke at the  opening ceremony of the  14th meeting of the Honorary International Investor Council (HIIC) held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa.

According to the President,  with the declaration of state of emergency in the north eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the country has witnessed tremendous landmark in terms of national security.

President Jonathan said the remarkable support from the local population of the affected states since the emergency rule was proclaimed was an indication that the activities of the terrorists did not enjoy the support of the local population.

Jonathan said what the country has been witnessing in the last few years had nothing to do with religion but  activities of internationally backed terror groups determined to destabilise the nation.

While underscoring the importance of security to the attraction of Investments into the country, President Jonathan emphasised that his  administration  will leave no stone unturned to guarantee safety of lives, property and investments.

He said the nation's economy is growing, but he would like to see it improved to an appreciable level of double digit growth.

The President informed the Council that his recent  presentation of  a mid-term report of performance of his administration on May 29 was to correct the misrepresentation being put in the public domain about the regime, adding  that government will encourage the growth of micro and medium scale business in addressing the high rate of unemployment in the country.

In the area of education, president Jonathan said the federal government would liaise with state governments  to end the menace of high school drop out.

He assured that the federal government would organise a forum of stakeholders from federal and states levels on the problem after resolving the political impasse within the Nigeria Governors' Forum.

He  assured that government will continue to work hard to address the problem of oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

Earlier in her remarks, HIIC Coordinator, Chalker said that government must take pro-active action to address the problem of oil theft which she said was 'diminishing income into the treasury''.

She also charged the government to double its drive on the development of infrastructure, roads, rails, power, which she said 'are key to solving other problems''.

Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga in his remarks  said there was significant increase in foreign direct investment in the economy, adding that the petrochemical sub-sector attracted over 20 billion dollar investments with over 8 billion dollar contribution by the Dangote group.

Aganga said the investments in petro-chemical have encouraged value addition into the oil and gas sector and generate employment.

The minister said that in the last six months, the telecommunication sector had attracted over 6.9 billion dollars noting that  there had been influx of foreign investments from Brazil, Canada and Netherland while Turkey had signed an agreement to build an industrial park in the country.

He said some of the investors have, however, been asking for increased incentives to invest in the rural areas, while some  complain of skill-gaps.

Aganga decried the situation where many Nigerians were unable to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the country because of lack of access to fund.
He said government must designed programmes for local investors to access long term finance to encourage re-distribution of wealth.

Present at the meeting were Vice President Namadi Sambo, Ministers of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Aviation, Stellaa Oduah, Power, Prrof. Chinedu Nebo, Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Maadueke and Internal Affairs, Abba Moro.

Some foreign investors at the meeting were Hruki Hayashi, Simon Hayford, Olivier Suinat, Guillaume Roux, Jacques des Grottes, Andrew Brown and David Haworth.

Nigerian business men at the meeting include, Aliko Dangote,  Emmanuel Ijewere, Femi Otedola, Umar Murtallab and  Sam Jonah.

The HIIC which is coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, was inaugurated in 2004 as a Presidential advisory council to attract global financial players in to the Nigerian economy.

The Council is charged with the responsibilities of looking in to Nigeria investment environment, advice on areas to improve on and attract businessmen across the world to take interest in investing in Nigeria.