Nigeria Is Open For Business! Truly!
Sunday, 13 November 2005
I witnessed genuine euphoria, enthusiasm and exuberance in the past several days.These are not customary or usual terms some reserve for describing Nigerian officials.
But the Presidential delegation led by Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are different, they certainly passionate about Nigeria! They are self-assured excited and ecstatic about the reforms that have taken place in Nigeria, and the consequent bountiful opportunities that are now open to Nigerian and Foreign Direct Investment. The enthusiasm, the exuberance, the confidence and excitement borne of conviction by the entire delegation, was simply contagious and infectious!
Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala led a high-powered delegation of President Obasanjo's seasoned technocrats of economic and social policies Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is simply impressive what with her full grasp and complete articulation of the nature and extent of reforms in Nigeria? What with her ability to readily spew facts and figures without a script, their dedication shined through. They were precise and concise.
Dr. Iweala and her delegation captivated audiences at every of the forums which took them to all corners of New York City. The delegation first stop was in Washington DC while New York City was the second leg of their dynamic efforts on behalf of our dear republic and I experienced first-hand, how the delegation effectively conveyed their message, Nigeria's message, with panoply of explanations, specific evidence of new rules, and the results of the plethora of reforms that are now entrenched in the system.
I took the entire week off from work as I attended every event, from the grand reception at the Sky Club on the 56th floor of the former Pan Am MetLife building near Hyatt Hotel, to the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, to meetings with American corporate executives of Chevron, Credit Suisse Fleet Boston, Oracle, JP Morgan Chase, the Business Roundtables and the Interview with The New York Times and many American Television Networks..
The delegation took the message of successes in the reforms agenda that have been vigorously pursued by the Nigeria federal government. And her delegation amply supported their presentations with detailed information and explanations in connection with processes and institutions that have been put in place in order that current policy achievements will be sustained even after the current government in Nigeria leaves office
Wanted Nigerians With Audacity!
Every good Nigerian is a Nigerian ambassador says the minister.
Finance Minister challenged Nigerians in the Diaspora to spread the good news about Nigeria, to our friends, to our professional colleagues and to our neighbors, our bankers, our accountants, our congressmen and women, to potential investors and to the government officials at all levels in the countries where we live. Dr. Iweala reminded Nigerians abroad that we do not need any invitation or reminder to come to Nigeria for visits, for vacations and or to invest. She also threw a welcome mat to Nigerians abroad who desire to return home for good. Diaspora Nigerians do not have to wait for government sponsored home return programs.
I attended the series if events hat culminated in the presidential delegation efforts in both Washington and New York City and the delegation comprised of various minister and other heads of Nigerian government. These delegates were simply graceful, and eloquent.
At every appearance, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. Ezekwesili were clad in various resplendent and majestic African attires, which in themselves, repeatedly made positive assertive cultural statement, even before these ministers spoke about their passions and their missions on Nigeriaâ€™s behalf. They had an air of extra dignity about them.
Minister El Rufai gave a rousing speech about the successes of reforms in Nigeria, and he announced the dawn of a new era and the formation or establishment of a mortgage system in Nigeria, including housing revolution. And how he is reclaiming Abuja from those who were defacing the territory. Those who were building illegal structures and abusing the pristine terrain as they neglect the fine world-class city Abuja was intended to be. Minister Rufai boasted that Abuja already compares favorably with any modern city anywhere in the world, and Abuja will be the envy of the world by the time he is done with Abuja, to this, he received standing ovation and thunderous applause!
FCT Minister Rufai also announced sale of land and houses by government, of which he encouraged Diaspora Nigerians to actively participate, as land applications can be completed online. Minister Rufai explained that houses previously owned by government are being sold to individual Nigerians. He added that there are adequate incentives and priority for Diaspora Nigerian applicants.
The investment promotion council led by Engr. Bello which was a part of a high presidential delegation made speeches at every stop, as Mallam Bello pitched investment ideas to Nigerians and American audiences. I was amazed at his tireless investment promotion efforts. He presented the Nigeria investment environment as a win-win for all. The entire team represented Nigeria superbly well and Nigeria could not have asked and received any better servants of our public sector and the private sector were superbly represented the Managing Director of UBA Mr. Tony Elemelu, Managing Director of Shell, Mr. Basil Omiyi, Oracle management executive Mr. Fafie, Virgin Nigeria Airline executive
These officials articulated Nigerians reforms and the progress that has been made by the current federal government to eradicate and eliminate corruption.
And in its place, Nigeria has installed best business practice comparable to what exist else where in the world. They explained Nigeria's enactment of various new legislations aimed at streamlining how business is done in Nigeria..... Geared towards effort to attract direct foreign investment to Nigeria.
Our tourism is not about sunshine and sex sea says Eborieme the Chairman of Nigerian Tourism Board in his presentation, he said it will about the various facet of Nigeriaâ€™s wondrous diversities with our diverse culture in all its splendor
Nigeria's Tourism promotion is like no other It is not about sex, sea and sunshine
Good things are surely happening and I wish that I am part of this epoch making and history making process as it is surely a delight to have the names of all these key players and participant emblazoned and embedded in the anal of worthy Nigerian history when it is written history is surely being made
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeriaâ€™s Finance Minister led a high-powered presidential delegation to Washington DC and New York City this week. The delegation put together by President Obasanjo, is an assemblage of the seasoned technocrats in the federal administration who are in hot pursuit of best economic and social policies for Nigeria. All members of the delegation were simply impressive in their articulation, their presentations and advocacy on the behalf of Nigeria
They demonstrated dedication, commitment and passions about Nigeriaâ€™s current reforms and the bountiful opportunities that now awaits investors in Nigeria, the key phrase was that it is a new day and a new dawn in Nigeria The delegation convinced audiences at different forums, that new rules, new laws, new regulations and new enforcement methods have taken place. It is no longer the case that plans are merely in the pipeline, actual implementation and enforcements are now well rooted.
At every stop on their scheduled interactions, they reassured audiences of potential American investors, of the fact that Nigeria is a wonderful country to invest profitably.
I was personally impressed by the fact the members of the delegation had a full grasp and total understanding, and a complete articulation of what is at stake and what has been done, they presented specific evidences, detailed information. They precise with figures, they were concise with explanations as they were enthusiastic in offering reassurances to those who pelted them with questions
These delegates repeatedly explained the nature and extent of the reforms that have already occurred in Nigeria since the inception of the administration of President Obasanjo.
The delegation captivated audiences at every forum which took them to all corners of the business districts in New York City, from the Stock Exchange in the Wall Street area and to Midtown Manhattan, the offices of The New York Times and American Television networks. The delegations first stop was in Washington DC, while New York City was the second leg, of what was a very dynamic effort on the behalf of our dear republic.
I experienced, first-hand, how the delegation effectively conveyed Nigeriaâ€™s message with a panoply of explanations, specific evidences and with such exuberances at every turn and by every delegate
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was accompanied by Engineer Bello, the chairperson for Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Minister El Rufai of the Federal Capital Territory,
Mallam Ribadu like all others spoke glowingly about the new regime of due process rule of law that has now become entrenched. Nuhu states the need for change, recognition of improprieties and corruption is reason why many things fail corruption compromises everything EFCC Nigeria0 has had help from the world Money laundry after 911 attacks Nigeria seized the customs police every law enforcement agencies and outside recruit make up EFCC above all lead by example and it may trickle No society rises above its leadership
Nigeria is where it is today through failures of leadership Nigerians are being trained My experience is police I was prosecutor I was in the US in Atlanta teaching when I was appointed Nigeria is a changed place Nigeria has decided to tackle frauds and 419ers
There have been arrest and convictions and about 21 in the last twelve months It wad important to demonstrate in words and actions that we meant business There have been arrest of high ranking officials cabinet ministers have been arrested Customs leadership remove Investigated 38 banks investigated oil thefts and illegal bunkering
Sending a clear message that we should remove obstacles to development For the first time everyone now knows that we mean We got a president who is a champion he is so at home and abroad President has hired seasoned technocrats He has gotten the UK US and EEU to support Nigeria If you are not in Nigeria you are not yet in Africa says Nuhu Scotland yard and FBI etc support local Nigeria efforts No one is above the law
Almie is an example of such public officers who have been arrested in Nigeria's partnership and cooperation with authorities worldwide, to tackle corruption by Nigerian public officials rooting out corruption is fundamental to development Setting a new standard
Best business practices should be entrenched by Nigerians and others who come to Nigeria to do business Nigeria insists on corporate good governance insist on best business practices There are reforms that states clearly that it is a new era in Nigeria
Clearly Nigeria has changed and the world now has confidence in Nigeria There is desperately poor Neglect has been long but so much is being do Perception is our bane and we have to engage in multiple efforts to get of the rot
Nigeria has best return to investment according standard but they still wrote three red X say be alert to risks of doing business in Nigeria, Nigeria has huge potential with huge population with wonderful opportunities there is a misconception regarding Nigeria that must change Nigeria is doing a great deal more than most country about corruption
When then Nigeria is good it will be well with all Africa We know reform can be accomplished Nigeria is a0 changed place and we need the support of every countries on earth. We have taken very courageous position to address mismanagement and corruption frontally we believe it can be done we have fiscal discipline
All these are indication of changes that has taken place And this all means that it now time to invest in Nigeria, Nigeria is a green field a virgin land for investment Nigeria is strategically located A fairly sophisticated place there is clearly visible progress
Huge Potentials As There Is No More Corruption
Continuity? We now have good governance. It not about individuals. As to questions visibility of progress or its parameter, what to be done to remove Nigeria from infamous his like FATF have been done. There are serious issues that have been considered Anti money laundry law have been enacted. FATF has never been to Nigeria the achievement made so far is more than enough to convince anyone that Nigeria is serious about reforms Nigeria has followed all suggestions from the UN and foreign governments
Nigeria is reforming for Nigeria own good. There is resistance to corruption fight in Nigeria The US had been supportive by denying visas to corrupt public officials there is need to rectify. The EFCC has been funding its own budget, Nigeria will fund the EFCC soon. EFCC has recovered billions of Naira for Nigeria, it recovered millions from public officials, Nuhu enjoys the public as public say enough is enough fed agency were our first response. EFCC delivered almost five million dollars to an 88 years old lady in Hong Kong, she had been duped by a fraudster in Nigeria. But this was not reported in America or European press!
Perception not easy to change. Corruption is debilitating. It is injustice. It leads to mismanagement and waste. Mobutu is what corruption does to countries. Selfishness corruption is not fair. If you can spend money, it is better spent on corruption, a fraction of what has been spent on the invasion and occupation, or efforts at installing democracy, in Iraq, would have brought better lives to billions of people in the world.
Mallam Ribadu believes philanthropists such as Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft who has spent money on fighting Malaria, will perhaps be of better service fighting corruption which deprives most citizens of the world developmental monies and resources for projects.
Fight corruption install good institution authority that is transparent and honest and accountable officials. He recounted how some officials received vaccines dump it, but collect money and nobody gets service. Officials stole money meant for bore holes a fight of corruption establish due process rule of law and sturdy institution full maximized potentials of Nigerians with basic amenities provided as corruption is removed and money is not stolen from projects.
This presidential efforts was a huge success, it should be sustained and frequent.
The delegation in all addressed Diaspora Nigerian several times, they equally addressed different segments of the American professionals, government leaders, business leaders and the press. The delegation stayed on the message. They conveyed the message effectively over and over again.
The message the presidential delegation delivered resoundingly and successfully, is that, it is a new day in Nigeria, reforms have taken root and further that, Nigeria is now open for business!