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How bureaucracy stalled Nigeria’s multibillion investments from UAE

How bureaucracy stalled Nigeria’s multibillion investments from UAE

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Nigeria’s quest for foreign direct investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been painfully slow no thanks to bureaucratic bottlenecks on the part of officials.

Giving this damning verdict is no other person than Mohammed Aliyu Baiwa, who sits atop as the Chief Executive, Nigerian Trade Centre (NTC) Dubai.

Speaking in an interview with The Nation, he observed that Nigeria is one of the top major business partners of the United Arab Emirates in the area of trade export and services.

He however regretted that the lopsided trade between the two countries was skewed in favour of Dubai Unite Arab Emirates. “It’s a ratio of 65% to 35% in favour of Dubai United Arab Emirates. Nigeria, being one of the biggest markets with over 180 million population and with large deposit of natural resources, which includes industrial, precious minerals and agricultural products is an advantage for any investors to look at.”

As to why the country is yet to witness remarkable inflow of foreign investments from UAE and other Gulf countries into Nigeria, the former Director General of the Nigeria-UAE Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which later transmuted to NTC, attributed this to a combination of factors, with bureaucracy top on the list.

“Many reasons attribute for the near investor apathy towards Nigeria. But I will mention few major ones that have hindered the inflow of investments into Nigeria despite concerted efforts to convince many companies that we are doing very good. The first thing is that there is no encouragement and cooperation from the Nigerian Embassy to the Nigerian Trade Centre Dubai, especially during the period of the two previous Ambassadors. They were not ready to cooperate with us in bringing some more than 450 Nigerian companies that were operating in Dubai and the other Emirates that were interested in Nigeria. Some of these companies have been operating for over 25 years in UAE,” he said.

Besides, he said, the uncooperative attitude of some embassy officials was also holding things up.

Thankfully, he said, “Majority of these companies in the UAE are still interested in investing in Nigerian markets as most of their services or products are being purchased by Nigerians. It took me time and follow up to convince many companies and investors to invest in Nigeria. The three companies that decided to show their presence in Nigeria and many others when the NTC DUBAI was functioning well include: KPMG, which is one of the top audit companies in the world, G4S Group, a security company and UAE Exchange company which is one of the largest money exchange companies in the Gulf to mention just a few. Nigerian companies should use this bilateral agreement opportunity to engage in joint ventures with companies in the UAE.”

While commenting on economic potential of the nation’s non-oil export, the NTC boss said the benefits of the sector are enormous if well harnessed.

Going down memory lane, he recalled that he presented a comprehensive report on how to unlock the potential of the non oil resources of Nigeria in the Gulf and Asian market to the then Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Agangan.

“In my report to him my advice then was that first let’s establish an export house in Dubai, India, China and the United States, which are the biggest trading partners for Nigeria. The approval by the former President Goodluck Jonathan to open the (RTO’s) offices was my proposal that I said this will allow or give access for Nigerian products to the international market for the non-oil resources that will add more revenue to Nigeria economy,”he noted.

 

The post How bureaucracy stalled Nigeria’s multibillion investments from UAE appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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