The 5-day Canada-Nigeria Investment Expo has come and gone, leaving on its trail possibilities of rejuvenation of the economy of Nigeria, including, of course, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
According to the Minister of State, FCT, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who led the Nigerian delegation, the investment summit has opened up more opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment into the FCT.
The summit, she said, was an eye opener to various business potential of the FCT that could be tapped to yield foreign exchange and how the FCT could also benefit from the Canada business environment to increase her foreign exchange earnings.
She listed other areas FCT would benefit to include infrastructure development, agriculture, transportation, hotels, culture and tourism and health. Others are waste management, power generation (from waste), security, and ICT.
The Investment EXPO, which was organised by Alpa Oasis Consulting in collaboration with the Canadian Council on Africa, is aimed at bringing investors from FCT and Canada together to identify areas of collaboration. Thus, the participants have come out with the knowledge that Nigeria has a lot to gain in order to increase her internally generated revenue in the near future.
According to the minister, in view of the dwindling revenue of government and the emergence of the new order of public private partnership, global economic leaders are moving towards bastions that will build on this paradigm in which Nigeria has keyed into and the FCT is a beneficiary.
She explained that the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s participation in the investment summit has opened up more opportunities for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the FCT and the government is bringing to bear to tap massively from what was learnt and gathered from the summit.
Ramatu led the physical and virtual delegation from Nigeria to the business expo with the theme: Creating Enduring Partnership which took place from August 29 to September 3, 2022 at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre (OITC).
At the expo, the minister also held meetings with the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, and the ministers of economic development job creation and trade; women’s social and economic opportunity; heritage, sports, tourism and culture.
Others are citizenship and multiculturalism; agriculture; transportation; member provincial parliament Logan Kanapathi and the mayor of Brampton.
Coming out of the summit, the Nigerian delegation has in its kitty the various business groups which indicated interest to come and invest in Abuja and the AICL and AIIC working with the Ease of Doing Business unit which will facilitate this process for speedy implementation.
Ramatu at the meeting with the Ontario minister of economic development, job creation and trade focused on areas of mutual interest which include but not limited to agriculture, trade, job creation, women and youths development, education and culture.
Member provincial parliament (MPP) Kanapathi who was also at the meeting promised to facilitate the visit of Ontario investors to Abuja on the request of the minister to enable them interact with various SDAs.
Of particular interest to delegates at the expo were presentations from the Mandate Secretaries EPRG & PPP, Agriculture and Social Development where they exposed delegates to the various investment opportunities in Abuja. And the Canada business community is anxious to have a trade investment with their counterparts in Abuja.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada Adeyinka Asekun, however, outlined the various efforts made by the embassy that have yielded results. He said one of such moves was the Canadian Governor General High powered visit to Nigeria in 2017 and the visit of Nigeria Business community to Canada in 2018.
The ambassador also informed the gathering of efforts been made to conclude the bilateral trade agreement between Nigeria and Canada to increase the volume of trade which is currently below what is expected given the number of Nigerians in Canada and the diverse opportunities.
On the trail of the summit and the benefits thereafter, are the possibilities of business investors from FCT and other parts of Nigeria been provided with the opportunity to connect with economic development organisations and global business leaders from across Canada to facilitate FDIs and public private partnership in Nigeria.
The minister’s visit to the B-HIVE Centre in Brampton revealed that young entrepreneurs from Abuja through the Abuja Enterprise Agency can come and invest in Brampton in the area of Tec and other small scale businesses.
The take home from the summit are numerous but are not limited to the Nigeria High Commission plan to commence talks with the various groups through MPP Kanapathi on specific areas of interest based on the ninister’s pronouncements.
The acting Director Reform Coordination and Service Improvement is to work with EPRG & PPP to identify SDAs to be part of the next phase of the relationship.
The just concluded Canada-Nigeria Investment and Business Expo should therefore not be seen as a one-off Expo, but efforts should be made to consolidate on the gains derived from the summit. FCTA has a lot to benefit and going by the pronouncements of the Minister, the future is bright for business opportunities that will be tapped and utilized by the business community in Nigeria nay FCT.
The organisers, Alpha Oasis, in partnership with other critical stakeholders, should commence adequate planning for a more robust investment expo.
Looking at the outcome of the summit, Ramatu and her delegation are convinced the business environment in FCT will soon start feeling the impact of the summit by having the FDIs come to play.
Abdul writes from Abuja.