DIPLOMACY

H.E. Okechukwu Fidelis Muoh, Ambassador of Nigeria to Romania: Nigeria at 55

The Federal Republic of Nigeria turns 55 today, after getting its independence from the British Colonial Rule on the 1st of October 1960. Nigeria is a culturally heterogeneous country with about 250 ethnic groups and tribes coexisting together over a land area of about One million square kilometres. Nigerians are heirs to great civilizations such as the Sokoto Caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, as well as the Oyo Empire and the domain of King Jaja of Opobo and the Benin Empire, Nok Culture among others. It is also the most populous country in Africa, with about 170,000,000 million people. The official language and the medium of communication is English. The country is popularly referred to as the “the land of abundant opportunities” owing to its huge natural resources.

Nigeria attained its 4th Republic on May, 2015 and on the 29th of May 2015, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR was sworn-in as its President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. After his inauguration into office, President Buhari immediately swung into action and restated Nigeria’s commitment to play its leadership role in Africa while assuring the wider international community of Nigeria’s readiness to cooperate on issues of global concern.

The new administration has since identified the immediate challenges faced by the country which include internal and cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, pervasive corruption and fuel/electricity power outages among others. A steady progress has been registered in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist organization which had been a major security threat in the North Eastern part of the country since 2009.


ANTI-TERRORISM CAMPAIGN

The fight against the dreaded terrorist group Boko-Haram is at its peak. The new leadership in Nigeria did not hesitate to take the fight to the terrorist by moving the Military command headquarters to the terrorist epicentre. The newly sworn-in Service Chiefs hit the ground running in order to make the country safe again in compliance with the directives of President Mohammadu Buhari.

Furthermore, the President strengthened the country’s security by forging partnership with the governments of the Republics of Chad, Niger, Cameroun and the United States of America to build a much stronger regional and international coalition to uproot the terrorist. A Nigerian Army General now heads the multinational Force, driving it forcefully to successful conclusion. Already the country is seeing improvements in relative security across the Northeast, the Boko-Haram insurgences, Southeast against kidnappers and Southwest against armed-robbery attacks and the general security in the other parts of the country at large.


ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE

The anti-corruption crusade of the new administration under President Muhammadu Buhari has also yielded results through liaison with the international community for the recovery of embezzled funds. The new President assured Nigerians that the law enforcement agencies would be required to operate within the limits of the constitution and they could also be held responsible for acts of wrong doing.

The Buhari’s administration is also committed to building a new country with an effort to stem the primitive pilferage of our national resources. The mindset that corruptions is criminal and evil and to do away with the mentality is the new direction in the public etiquette being pursued by the new administration.

In addition, the President Buhari’s administration is tackling corruption by demonstrating that it will not tolerate corruption in his administration. He is also recovering misappropriated funds and bringing the culprits to book. The President has promised to use these recovered funds to build schools, roads and hospitals which Nigerians need.

In addition, the administration has fought and secured much of the system that plagued the operations of our refineries and power generation. The Refinery production has improved reasonably and thereby lowering the cost of fuel importation and spurring greater economic activity. It is worthy to note that the Federal Government daily spending on petroleum subsidy dropped from N2.4billion (about US$5.2 million) which it incurred in June to N1.01billion, as at September 2015. The dream of the President is to make Nigeria a better place not for a few but for all Nigerians.


NIGERIA: THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITIES

Nigeria’s economy emerged the foremost economy in Africa with a GDP of USD 510 billion annually. The Nigerian economy provides huge investment opportunities in the various sectors:


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The areas of investments for corporate and individual investors include; Crude oil and Gas (extraction/processing-refineries); Petrochemical products Industry; Agriculture, – mechanized farming (rice, cassava, wheat, cotton, maize, millet, etc.); Agro-allied industries sector; Telecom/ICT sector; banking sector; Tourism/hospitality industry; Textile Industry; Education- up to tertiary level; Infrastructure development– Public Private Partnership (PPP); Housing (enormous need exist as there are 17 million housing shortage); Transportation – Airline, Waterways, Inland; Mining (34 strategic minerals such as Gold, Iron Ore, Bitumen, Coal, Tin, Magnesium, Lime stone, etc. exist in Nigeria); Power Sector (generation, solar, other renewal sources, etc.).


THE ENABLING ENVIRONMENT

Some of the reasons for anyone to invest in Nigeria include, large market owing to huge population (177,155,754, CIA World fact book July 2014 est.); enabling policies and government support through grant of special incentives; low tax rate at five percent VAT; availability of wide range of raw materials; enormous quality labour force; Stock purchase of quoted companies; legal processes for repatriation of profit to own country by foreign Investors; purchasing power of the populace; availability of market access – Free movement (15 Countries of ECOWAS); good profit margin due to low production cost; etc. Nigeria awaits the world to invest in the foremost economy and the most populated country on the continent of Africa. The Embassy of the Federal Nigeria in Bucharest is on hand to guide potential and interested investors from Romania on investments.


NIGERIA/ ROMANIA RELATIONS

Diplomatic relation between Nigeria and Romania was established in the 1960’s with Romania opening its diplomatic Mission in 1966 and Nigeria opening its Mission in Romania in 1974. Invariably, relations between Nigeria and Romania date back more than 40 years. The two countries enjoy relations at political, economic and diplomatic levels. Politically, there had been visits at highest levels with President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania visiting Nigeria in 1977, while President Obasanjo reciprocated in 1978. The former President Shehu Shagari of Nigeria also visited Romania in 1982.

Economically, Nigeria/Romania Joint Commission was established in 1977 as a platform for discussion of economic issues and all other issues of mutual importance to both countries. The Joint Commission meeting is held in turns between the two countries and was last held at Abuja in 2001 while efforts continue to see Romania host the next session of the Joint Commission.

The journey of Nigeria Romanian bilateral Relations has been good so far especially in the area of Education; however other viable economic aspects remain unexplored. The Embassy of Nigeria uses this opportunity to call on the Romanian investors to take advantage of the numerous investment opportunities that abound in Nigeria.
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Bucharest uses the occasion of this 55th Independence anniversary to felicitate with Nigerian compatriots, (Nigerian students and businessmen) in Romania, and the Romanian Government and its people and wish them a prosperous future.

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