The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dele Kelvin Oye, Esq., has urged businesses and investors in the United States to leverage Nigeria’s large, youthful population and its human capital advantage to exploit the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In a related development on his visit to Minister of Defence he urged for increased security to boost investor’s confidence in the country and improve the nation’s business and investment climate. Oye led a delegation of industry stakeholders to visit the Defence Minister, who is a NACCIMA Past National President, at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja. On the delegation were Alhaji Jani Ibrahim MNI, NACCIMA 1st Deputy President, and Arc. Abiodun Adetula and Alh. Suleiman Adebayo Audu, who are Council Members of NACCIMA. Oye, who was a panelist at the USAfrica Business Expo in New York, United States, said Nigeria’s population and its human capital advantage is what sets it apart within the African market, noting that the investors can unlock the unprecedented economic potential that the AfCFTA offers for the economic benefits of both countries. The NACCIMA boss said the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was undertaking holistic reforms and policies across various sectors to transform Nigeria as the most conducive country for foreign investments, reiterating the need for increased bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and the United States to facilitate growth and prosperity in both economies.
According to him, “Under the rules of origin, you can trade in Africa under the continental free trade. Nigeria also represents a large country with over 240 to 250 million people. What this means is that even if you are selling a piece of paper in Nigeria, you are already a billionaire. You don’t need to go outside Nigeria. “You also have people with huge talents; you don’t need to bring in your expatriates in any field to come to work in Nigeria. I can assure you that the local talents abound and they are ready to collaborate with you.” Rallying Nigerians in the Diaspora to bring investments back home, Oye said, “I am urging all of you today to see Africa with a distinction. Some of you complain that there’s no light and water, among others, but I tell you today that those are opportunities. If you provide a solution, you can make money out of it. “See those problems as opportunities and be a gateway to lead Africa with whatever emerging technologies. In any investment you do, if you invest in the wrong technology, you will lose money. So, part of your first job here is when there’s a new invention, make sure you tell us back home. That way you would have contributed to solving a problem back home.”
On his part, the Executive Director at USAfrica Trade, Gbenga Omotayo, while commending the NACCIMA boss, said, “This is probably the most important speech anyone has given on the opportunity that abounds in Nigeria and Africa. For the first time, people in this part of the world understood the enormity of the opportunity and attractiveness of Nigeria with this new leadership. Dele Oye’s brilliance is at another level. Thank you for being a good ambassador and sharing your wealth of experience.” He met with the Minister of Defence, Alh Badaru Abubakar. The NACCIMA boss during the visit hinted at efforts by the association to improve the business environment and drive economic growth and development in the country since his assumption of office in June 2023, urging for better collaboration with the security agencies via information sharing to protect the business community. He commended the Minister on his vast experience as a successful entrepreneur, farmer, past President of NACCIMA, and former governor of Jigawa State, noting that the Minister’s expertise and knowledge could be utilised to coordinate and enhance the security architecture in Nigeria, which would create an environment for businesses to thrive and attract more foreign direct investment. Oye, who stressed the need to enhance the performance of various security agencies while minimising disruptions to businesses, emphasised the importance of aligning Nigeria’s commerce and investment practices with international best practices and the country’s security service operations in order to optimise competitiveness and increase foreign direct investment.
On his part, the Minister while commending the NACCIMA President for his effective leadership and work on trade facilitation, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to work with NACCIMA and other stakeholders to address the concerns of the nation’s business community security needs, especially on land and maritime operations in Nigeria. He restated his readiness to work with NACCIMA to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and attract more foreign direct investment through improvement in Nigeria’s security architecture. The Minister further highlighted various efforts made by the Government to promote investment in critical sectors, encouraging local investors to optimise their operations and expand their businesses as the Government will continue to provide the necessary enabling secured environment.