The Government of Nigeria has assured the Canadian investors of incentives and conducive environment needed for their investments to thrive.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo gave this assurance at the on-going two-day, Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit with the theme: “Fostering Strong Business Partnership into the Future” holding at the Musa Yaradua Centre, Abuja from November 5-6, 2018.

Prof Osinbajo affirmed the tremendous opportunities for increased scope of trade and investment between Canada and Nigeria as he stressed the need to fully realised Nigeria immense investment potentials.

He stated the various reforms put in place by the government of Nigeria to improve the ease of doing business in the country. He made reference to the inauguration of the Presidential Enabling Environment Committee (PEEC) being chaired by him as part of government efforts at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

The Committee according to him, was charged with progressively removing the challenge face by investors in doing business in Nigeria and ensure coordination across several ministries and agencies of government. “With the supports of the leadership of the National assembly and state government, we were able to drive reforms that held us a place as one of the World’s 10 hub performing economy”, he added.

The Vice President was confident that the government on-going efforts of harnessing the entrepreneur energy of Nigeria youthful population, would bring about meaningful contributions to Nigeria GDP and in developing home grown solution that would help the country achieve the sustainable development goals.

He noted that the Nigeria Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government has identified some of the sectors that many Canadian investors are already familiar with as priority sectors. These according to him include; power generation, devolvement of gas to power, mining and solid minerals. Others are; agriculture, food processing, manufacturing and real estate.

“Towards the achievement of ERGP, we conducted focus labs which are special intervention targeted at resolving specific bureaucratic bottlenecks facing large scale investments in Nigeria”, he further explained.

He informed participants at the Summit that Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is in the process of building a data base of investment opportunities across Nigeria to guide potential investors.

In his address, the Hon. Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari said the history of Nigerian Mining Reform cannot be complete without mentioning the positive roles that Canada, and Canadians played in helping to midwife it, giving it direction and protection.

The Minister said that Nigeria mining relationship with Canada dated back to 2013, when Canada and its firms provided training and critical expertise to the sector before the relationship took a turn for the worse, according to him.

He however made known that the country is currently witnessing the gradual return of Canadian Mining Companies into Nigeria Mining jurisdiction. “One of the more famous ones is Thor Explorations Limited which is continuing with its mine development and exploration works over Segilola Gold Project in Ilesha, Osun State.” He also made reference to James Bay Resources Ltd whose interest had been in Bitumen and recently in Lead Zinc.

The Minister said the vast opportunities that exist in both the down and upstream sectors of Nigeria mineral development are clearer and ready for exploitation. “Many analysts have noted, that Nigeria is still essentially a Greenfield with a variety of mineral types and some of the highest grades of minerals anywhere in the world”.

Noting the challenge of infrastructure in mining, the Minister revealed that Nigerian government has initiated a partnering scheme with the private sector for the provision of infrastructure through the National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan. He encouraged Canadian investors to go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with government in order to provide needed infrastructure.

He affirmed high grade of many mineral types deposits in Nigeria as he listed government incentives on mining investments to include; a conducive investment climate comprising 100% ownership of mining project as guaranteed by the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007; waivers for customs and import duties for plant, machinery and equipment imported for mining operations as well as tax holidays of three to five years.

Others according to him are; free transferability of funds and permission to retain and use earned foreign exchange; Capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure and deductibility of Environmental Costs.

Earlier in his speech, the Deputy High Commissioner, Canada High Commission, Nigeria, Ryan Ward said with the shifting wind in international trade, Canada considered it beneficial to explore the potentials in Nigeria and establish a strong trade and investment relationship that would be of mutual benefits to both countries.

He stated that efforts were being made to bring in more Canadian investors into Nigerian business to harness the available resources in the country.