President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Paris, France, urged investors to further explore vast opportunities of human and natural resources in Nigeria, while assuring them that fiscal policies will be more favourable, predictable and measurably tilted towards creating a good business environment.
The president held meetings with chairman/CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanne; executive vice president, AirBus, Silvere Delaunay; chairman of the Board of a software company, Daussault Systems, Florence Verzelen; chairman/CEO of General Engineering and Marketing of Telecommunications Operator, Francois-Regis Teze, and chairman/CEO, Donaflex Automotive, Dr Donatus Nwokoye, a very successful manufacturer.
In a meeting with the delegation from Total, President Buhari in a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu, said the outlook and potential for growth in the country had remained steadily positive, affirming the government's commitment to scale up operating standards and policies that encourage mutual benefits.
"We are very pleased with the evolving trends in technology which is currently driving development across the world and Nigeria. Nigeria is more a gas country than a crude oil producing country. In the 80's we generated more from gas than crude oil.
"In the 80's, we were earning more from gas for some years, and had put in place structures. We intend to further explore the gas sector. I am pleased with your consistency in staying in Nigeria," he said.
President Buhari told the investors to take advantage of the country's natural and human resources, pointing out that the demographics favour development, with more young people who are eager to be gainfully engaged and trained.
"We need to educate the youth and encourage more skills in technology. Technology has been most impactful in all sectors, including the oil and gas, which has witnessed rapid transformation in exploration, processing and distribution," he added.
The president thanked the chief executive officer of Total for the company's consistency and expansion in Nigeria since 1956, assuring that the government will enhance fiscal stability that will favour investors.
The group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, said Total had confirmed long term investments in Nigeria, and had consistently exceeded targets in gas production.
He added that the NNPC had already designed solutions to some of the challenges in the oil and gas sector, particularly tax.
In his remarks, Pouyanne told the president of the readiness of the company to stay in Nigeria, and further expand interest in oil, gas, solar and other commodities that will directly impact the lives of citizens.
He said investors had been eagerly waiting for the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as it will send a strong signal of more predictability.
"Total is very committed to Nigeria. We have no intention of leaving Nigeria," he said.
President Buhari also spoke with the pesident of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, who briefed him on the regional security and political situation in the Horn of Africa.
Total Pledges To Continue Investing In Nigeria's Oil And Gas Sector
Total Plc has assured that it will continue to invest in Nigeria, especially in gas production and supply for both domestic and export.
Chairman/CEO of Total Plc, Mr Patrick Pouyanne, gave the assurance when President Muhammadu Buhari granted him audience yesterday in Paris, France, where he (Pouyanne) spoke on the need for improved fiscal stability and attractiveness that are necessary for continuing investment into Nigeria's oil and gas industry.
President Buhari had on Sunday departed Abuja for Paris, on a four-day official visit to attend the African Finance Summit.
One of a series of post on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) group's twitter handle said, "At the meeting, Total CEO emphasised the great potential of Nigerian hydrocarbon industry, providing assurances to the President of his company's commitment to continue to invest in Nigeria particularly in gas production and supply for both domestic and export through LNG Nigeria."
In attendance at the meeting were the Ministers of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; GMD, NNPC, Mele Kyari and NNPC's group general manager, National Petroleum Investments Management Services (NAPIMS), Bala Wunti.