that Nigeria and Singapore have sustained cordial relations since their independence.
They note that the two countries have, on many occasions at international fora, supported each other on developments, especially on trade and investments.
For instance, Mr John Bassey, an economist, said the volume of trade volume between the two countries had grown tremendously since the establishment of the Nigerian Diplomatic Mission in Singapore in 2000.
He noted further that with the deployment of a non-resident Singapore High Commissioner to Nigeria in 2007, the trade volume rose to more than N50 billion in 2014.
To further consolidate the relations between the two countries, the Nigeria High Commission will host the Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum (NSBIF) in Singapore between Aug. 4 and August 5
The forum, which is the second edition, is expected to attract high profile individuals, resource business persons and top business establishments from countries, featuring several presentations, panel discussions and bilateral meetings.
Economic experts hold the belief that the forum will provide a good opportunity for Nigeria to present its investment opportunities to Singapore’s prospective investors as a follow-up to the success of the first forum in 2013.
Bassey observed that both countries had a lot to gain from the forum in terms of business and investment opportunities.
He noted that the forum would bring together both public and private sector officials to explore business and investment opportunities.
Sharing similar sentiments, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Singapore, Ms Nonye Rajis-Okpara, said Nigeria would benefit tremendously from the forum.
“After taking into consideration the success of the forum in 2013, we felt that it makes more sense to keep the momentum going.
“Our host country acknowledges that the NSBIF 2013 was the biggest bilateral event to have taken place in Singapore,’’ she said.
According to her, the forthcoming forum is aimed at further enhancing business and investment opportunities between the two countries.
“Participating Nigerian high level delegates will hold bilateral meetings with their counterparts to better understand the business sectors in Singapore,’’ she said.
Rajis-Okpara said the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment would address the forum on the investment opportunities available in Nigeria and give in-depth analysis of policies to advance Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Nigeria.
Analysts, therefore, advise that such address by stakeholders in Nigeria business community should be explicit on business opportunities in Nigeria being the gateway country to Africa.
In the light of this, former Gov. Uzor Kalu of Abia, said he made the observation at the 2013 forum in his paper entitled “Nigeria the New Frontier: Unlocking Opportunities in Africa’s Largest Market.’’
According to him, the rate of development in Nigeria is an investment opportunity for Singapore.
“Nigeria has untapped solid mineral deposits, large arable land for agriculture activities, agro-based industries and a large skilled low-cost labour workforce waiting to be tapped,’’ he said.
In the same vein, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Singapore, corroborated Kalu’s view, noting further that Nigeria held the ace in his country’s quest for investment.
He said many Singaporean companies such as Olam, Tolaram and Sea Truck were already in Africa.
He observed that the forum would provide a good platform for the consolidation of business plans between his country and Nigeria.
Irrespective of these views, observers insist that the Federal Government should provide the necessary enabling environment to accelerate the investment relationship between both countries.
Rajis-Okpara, therefore, assured the observers that the Federal Government had been making efforts to provide a good platform for promoting FDIs in Nigeria.
According to her, some of the enabling environment provided is reflected in the agreements signed between the two countries within the last two years.
The envoy noted that the former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, had signed four Memoranda of Understanding with Singapore at the 2013 forum.
She observed that the agreement included laying the legal foundation upon which both countries would collaborate in terms of driving up their trade and investment potential.
Corroborating this, Aganga said that the ministry had set up surveillance team to follow up on all agreements signed between the ministry and foreign countries or foreign corporate organisations.
He also said that both countries would establish a Trade and Investment Council to accelerate the investment relationship between both countries.
“Such council is an institutional framework for working on increasing the level of trade and investment between both countries; that is what it is about,’’ Aganga said.
Similarly, Rajis-Okpara said an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement would be signed between Nigeria and Singapore.
She said that the agreement would seek to ensure non-discrimination, fair and equitable treatment for Nigerian investors and investments in Singapore and vice versa, among other provisions.
The envoy said the signing of the agreements, which would be one of the highpoints of the forum, would provide a face-to-face platform for both Nigerian and Singaporean entrepreneurs to exchange ideas.
She said that the agreement would serve as an impetus to the growing business interest between Nigeria and Singapore.
She further said that the desire by Nigeria to set up a joint commission with Singapore, which would be driven mainly by commerce, would be discussed at the forum.
All in all, economists hold out the belief that with the calibre of participants expected at the NSBIF, the world will appreciate and utilise the Nigeria’s investment opportunities.
Arobani is of the News Agency of Nigeria.
Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA
Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.”
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million.
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge.
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million.
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise.
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export
An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.
By: Corlins Walter
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