Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, said yesterday that Nigeria, with a record of $8.9 billion investment inflow in 2011, has become one of the top global destinations for Foreign Direct Investment (FOI).
Aganga made the remarks when he gave an overview of the three-day High Level Investment and Business Summit
on Nigeria organised by the Bank of Industry (BOI) on the sidelines of the ongoing 2012 London Olympics at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
Aganga said that with a large natural resource base including, industry, energy, mining and Agriculture, the country remained a preferred market destination for investors.
"'Nigeria with its strong demographics figure , is a large market with strong work force and a growing middle income currently standing at 23 per cent, it remains the destination to beat," Aganga said.
The minister urged investors to look beyond the oil and gas sector and diversify into other sectors including mining and agriculture which are yet untapped.
In his contribution, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said that 40 per cent of the country's 84 million hectares of Arable land was currently untapped.
Adesina who described the country as a potential power house suggested that in order to make the sector viable, agriculture should be treated as business rather than as a development programme.
In a remark, UK Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham who spoke on the strong business relationship between the UK and Nigeria stressed the importance of the Petroleum Industry Bill in fostering Investors confidence in Nigeria.
My government is wholeheartedly committed to supporting Nigeria's rise. The Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill is of great significance.
"It provides a real opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate to the business community that it is ready and willing to embrace and protect new investments," the Europe Correspondent of the News Agency f Nigeria (NAN) quotes Bellingham as saying.
"There is a wealth of opportunities in Nigeria. All of us here today have a role to play in realising those opportunities; While the Olympics may be a competition, trade and investment is not. It is a positive sum game from which we can all benefit, he added.
Ms Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director of BOI, in her address said that the summit among others seeks to provide the opportunity for foreign investors to meet key players of Nigeria's economic sector.
She expressed optimism that deals would be sealed at the summit.
Earlier, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Dalhatu Tafida, who pointed out that there was tremendous
Wealth of business opportunities in the country urged investors to make use of the opportunity offered by the summit in making business contacts and sealing deals.
"'Combined with its location, accessibility and willingness to engage in regional and international trade in unprecedented scale, the country presents an insightful, lucrative display of the most viable opportunities that any country has to offer," Tafida said. The summit will end tomorrow, August 1.