Nigeria has abundant opportunities for Singapore – Minister



The Singaporean Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli, has said that Nigeria holds the ace in his country’s quest for investment.
Zulkifli said Nigeria has abundant resources that his country could tap from.
He said rather than concentrate on China and Asia for business, Singapore was already looking in the direction of Nigeria.
Zulkifli, who spoke when Nigerian’s Ambassador to Singapore, Nonye Rajis-Okpara, paid him a courtesy call, said companies from Singapore were already in Africa.
Zulkifli, who equally advised other countries to do same, listed some of the companies to include Olam, Tolaram and Sea Truck.
He said the upcoming Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum, scheduled to take between October 28 and 30, 2013 in Singapore, would further grounds for the consolidation of business trade between his country and Nigeria.
The Minister said there is the need, more than ever, for countries to shift their focus from China and South East Asia to Africa and look at Nigeria beyond oil and gas.
He emphasized the importance of medium enterprises that are eager to enter the Nigerian market.
On the Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, Zulkifli informed Rajis-Okpara and her entourage that Singapore is also keen on signing the agreements and the new development from Nigeria was a advancement in the negotiation process.
Rajis-Okpara told Zulkifli that the purpose of the visit was to discuss preparations for the upcoming Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum.
The Forum is being hosted by the Nigeria High Commission in collaboration with the Singapore Business Federation and International Enterprise, Singapore.
Rajis-Okpara informed the Minister of the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Government to the necessary enabling environment to attract foreign investment into Nigeria in line with the present administration’s transformation agenda.
She described Nigeria as the gateway to Africa.
She spoke of the progress regarding the willingness by Nigeria to sign the Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, the upcoming Forum.
When signed, the agreement will serve as an impetus to the growing business interest between Nigeria and Singapore.
She also informed the Minister of the desire by Nigeria to set up a Joint Commission with Singapore, which will be driven mainly by commerce.
On the upcoming Forum, Rajis-Okpara informed Zulkifli that the response from Nigeria is encouraging, especially from ministers, , captains of industries and the Nigerian media.
She said the High Commission is hopeful that the response from Singapore would match that from Nigeria.
Furthermore, she requested that Minister to engage the local and international media in Singapore to create awareness for the Forum in form of radio and television announcements and also proposed a 15 minutes to 30 minutes one-on-one interview with ministers/ from Nigeria and Singapore, where they will discuss on the objective and outcome of the Forum.
She also requested specifically that the Singapore Government should be able to present a high level delegation to match that of Nigeria at the Forum.
The High Commissioner also informed Zulkifli that ministers attending the Forum would pay courtesy call on their Singaporean counterparts on October 30.

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