The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has advised Nigerians in Diaspora to invest in the country given the improving business climate and potential for good returns on investment.
The association’s National President, Mrs. Alaba Lawson, gave the advice in New York, the United States, during the NACCIMA-Diaspora parley with Nigerian professionals, organisations, and investors based in the U.S.
Lawson told the group that due to new policy measures adopted by the government, the country was experiencing changes that make investment more attractive and rewarding in terms of returns.
The NACCIMA leader pointed out that agriculture was now taking its leading role in Nigeria’s socio-economic development efforts since the country needed to feed its citizens rather than importing food and by implication, depleting its hard-earned foreign reserves.
According to her, another key sector with promising opportunities for investors is the solid minerals sector as there is no local government in the country that cannot boast of at least one minerals deposit.
Lawson hinted that the business community was now looking at mining as a very important sector that will replace the oil sector in the country based on good policies by the government.
Specifically, the OPS group leader explained that the mining roadmap, which was developed to raise the contributions of mining to the nation’s GDP from 0.3 percent to about four percent or $27 billion by 2025, focused on seven strategic minerals, namely iron ore, gold, bitumen, coal, limestone, lead and zinc, gold and barite.
The NACCIMA president said that mining sector remained an area the Nigerians in Diaspora can look into and invest.
She explained: “Being the voice of the Nigerian business, we advocate conducive and enabling environment for private sector to be able to successfully operate, thrive and serve as the engine of economic growth and development in our country.
“This position has given us a unique opportunity to truly be the voice of business and defender of the interest of the private sector.
“We are all aware of the growth and development of the Nigerian diaspora. We are aware of you being in the process of having a Nigerian bank. One cannot underestimate the volume of money being moved by the Nigerians in the Diaspora. It is well known that our Diaspora is composed of high-end and skilled professionals.
“And is in addition, Diaspora remittances have hit about $30 billion and this is the real data that we have – that in a year, the $30 billion is the formal one that you can track.
“The informal ones that people give hand-to-hand to send to relatives are not included. So you can see that this is a veritable injection of funds into our economy. And at NACCIMA, we are closely following this trajectory of the Nigerian Diaspora as a credible partner in the development of our country”, Lawson added.
On the issue of honest business partners raised by some of the Nigerians in Diaspora and their investment partners, Lawson assured that mechanisms are in place to check or investigate the integrity of such people, adding that the chamber has a Diaspora desk to deal with such matters.
In his remarks, the Director-General, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, said that the association had a database of genuine businesses that foreign investors could access and partner the group to secure their investments.
He expatiated: “So we are calling on you to join us at NACCIMA to make some contributions in our quest to turn Nigeria into a country of our dream. Whether we like it or not and wherever we are, home is the best and home is home. This is our clarion call that we should all join hands to promote our nation and build it into our dream”.
Speaking earlier on the purpose of the forum, the Consul, Economic and Investment at the Nigerian Consulate, New York, Mr. Nicholas Ellas, said that the engagement was aimed at connecting with the Nigerian professionals, groups and associations outside Nigeria for the purposes of encouraging them to invest in the country.