Economic Diversification: Nigeria to partner Ireland on trade, investment – Amb. Obiezu

By Chimezie Godfrey

In a bid to complement the economic diversification programme of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Embassy to Ireland, has inaugurated a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for Nigera-Ireland Trade and Investment Summit.

Speaking during the inauguration Thursday in Abuja, the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency, Ijeoma Obiezu noted that the summit will also support the sustainable recovery of the Nigerian economy from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ambassador who revealed that the new date of the event is now 30th June to 2nd July, 2022, in Dublin, expressed delight that the LOC would take up the responsibility of actualizing the much anticipated event.

She said,”I am most delighted to be addressing you on this momentous occasion when a Local Organising Committee (LOC) would be inaugurated to take up the responsibility for actualising a much anticipated event. I am sincerely appreciative of your zeal and the interest shown for the task ahead of us.

“You are no doubt aware, that with the unalloyed endorsement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Embassy to Ireland in partnership with Irish-Nigeria Business Association (INBA) has written or in some-way communicated its plans to host the Nigeria-Ireland Investment Summit.

“The event will now take place from 30th June to 2nd July, 2022 in Dublin under the theme “Prospering together Through Trade and Investment.” The date and theme that we have now adopted for the event is slightly different from the initial one communicated to some stakeholders. The changes are regretted but were deemed necessary in the delivery of best outcomes for Nigeria.

“Allow me to recall that during an induction programme in 2021 Mr. President tasked newly appointed Nigerian Ambassadors (including myself) to promote the country’s national interests and in particular to foster improved economic cooperation between Nigeria and various host countries.

“To fulfil one of its several longstanding diplomatic mandates, the Nigerian Embassy to Ireland recognized convening an Investment- oriented Summit as the best strategic avenue for delivering on this presidential directive.

“Imperative reasons for the Summit are hinged on complementing the economic diversification programme of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR as well as supporting sustainable recovery of the Nigerian economy from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Amb. Obiezu disclosed that participation in the forthcoming Summit is open to all Federal Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State and local government, Businesses, International Organisations, Civil Society and the Media.

“Accordingly, it is pertinent to mention that the event would be predominantly private sector driven with strong backing of the Nigerian and Irish government. Likewise, the event’s activities and engagement will be broad and spanning all economic sectors be it Health, Information and Communication Technology, Education, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Housing, Tourism and so on.

“The Summit would provide opportunity for a policy dialogue on deepening bilateral economic relations, networking between governments and businesses, product exhibition spaces, and advertisement.

“I would like to mention that the main objectives of the planned Summit are as follows: Support developmental priorities of Nigeria and Ireland, Foster improved private sector led cross-border trade and investment,
Showcase investment opportunities in the Nigerian and Irish economies, and encourage more Nigerian exports to Ireland to reduce trade deficit,” she said.

She added that the summit will equally facilitate greater understanding by private sectors of the market conditions and regulatory requirements for doing
business in the two countries, and attract diverse Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) streams.

The Ambassador further said that beyond actualization of the enumerated objectives, the Summit’s expected outcomes will include adoption of a communique, establishment of business-to-business matchmaking tool, and establishment of Nigeria- Ireland Chamber of Commerce among others.

She therefore stressed that the role of the LOC is very crucial, adding that its members would be required to provide support and advice on event planning, mobilise critical stakeholders, and facilitate successful participation.

“The LOC would need to work the official Consultant for the Summit, Secondmay Resources Limited. On behalf of the Nigerian Embassy, I personally solicit for your cooperation in making the Summit a success.

“Finally, it is my honour and privilege to declare that the Local Organising Committee is hereby inaugurated effective immediately,” she stressed.

In his remarks, Comrade Chinedu Ogubuike the President/CEO, SECONDMAY Resources Ltd who is also the Official Consultant to the Summit, stressed that the summit is one that will have results, adding that it is not just a talk show where people deliver paper and nothing happens.

Comrade Ogubuike therefore assured that in two years Nigeria would witness positive economic change resulting from the impact of the summit.

He said,”We want to do something different with timeline, that after this summit by July, we will see investments going on everywhere in Nigeria as a result of this very summit.

“In two years, we expect to see manufacturing industries in the agriculture, food sector, rail sectors established here in the country as a result of the summit, so it’s a very big program.”

Comrade Ogubuike therefor expressed satisfaction that Her Excellency, the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland has given the summit the attention it deserves by coming down personally to inaugurate the LOC members.

He assured that the LOC members with his support as the special consultant will do well.

Also speaking, the President and CEO of the Irish Nigerian Business Association, Mr Eugene Nwosu said the Irish have Agriculture in common with Nigeria, adding it is one major thing that Nigeria can benefit from.

According to him, the mainstay of the Irish economy is agriculture pointing out Nigeria under President Mohammadu Buhari has made agriculture the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

“The major non-oil sector of the economy in Nigeria is agriculture and Ireland has so much investment that they need to expand into a country like Nigeria with so much potential. Nigeria is the number one booming place in Africa and we want to expose that to the Irish investors,” he said.

Nwosu noted that just recently, the Irish Farmers Association took a trade to Saudi Arabia, stating that being the superpower and agricultural mainstay in Africa, Nigeria will do evn better if exposed to Irish investors.

He said over the years, foreign investors have been scared of reliability. “Another thing that we are selling to the Irish community is that they can gain access to reliable partnership in Nigeria,” Nwosu said.

The members of the LOC include representatives from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nasarawa State government among others.