By Emmanuella Anokam
Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo on Tuesday called for the creation of the Nigeria–France Business Council to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
The Minister made the call in Abuja by addressing the French Minister of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Mr. Franck Riester, who was accompanied by some French investors in Nigeria.
He explained that the council, which would be led by the private sector, would perform the statutory functions of coordinating and promoting a business environment conducive to economic growth.
Adebayo, in a statement from his special media assistant Ifedayo Sayo, also called on French companies to take advantage of the country’s teeming youth to invest in software manufacturing in the country.
Noting that France is a big exporter of software, he called on some French software companies to come to the country and start their businesses in order to create jobs for the teeming youth.
This, the minister said, would help President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
Adebayo said that the creation of certain special economic zones (SEZs) to promote the manufacturing sector has provided investors with another excellent opportunity to invest in the country.
He explained that the special economic zones have essential infrastructure that would facilitate the establishment of industries in the country.
In addition, he urged them to take advantage of Nigeria’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)to invest in the country so that they have access to a very large market on the continent.
Riester had congratulated the country on the emergence of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director-General of the World Trade Organization, noting that France was at Nigeria’s side as it saw the emergence of its top candidate. of the WTO.
The French minister said that France is keen to build a long-standing partnership with Nigeria, not only in the area of trade, but also in other areas.
He also welcomed the idea of setting up the Nigeria-France Business Council, saying that it was the will of the French authorities to further encourage its businessmen to come and invest in the country.
Speaking to representatives of French businesses in the country, Adebayo said the federal government would continue to do its best to create an environment conducive to their growth.
Some of the companies which had representatives present at the meeting were CFAO represented by Mr. Regis Tromeur; FanMilk, Mr. Ferdinand Mouko; Swipha, Mr. Frédéric Lieutaud; Spie Oil and Gas, Mr. Guillaume Niarfeix; and PACE, Mr. Mathieu Guillerey.
In their various presentations, they called for the minister’s intervention in currency accessibility, increased efficiency at the port to facilitate the clearance of shipments, an improvement in the security situation in the country and stable policies, among others.
However, they pledged to continue doing business in the country, stressing that they were determined to increase their investments with government support. (NOPE)
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