Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, charged the Federal Government to create enabling environment to attract private investment which is needed to grow the economy.
Also, the Senate Committee chairman on Trade and Investment, Senator Sam Egwu, charged industries within the county to operate within the laws of the land as the National Assembly was ready to make laws that would attract investment in Nigeria.
Speaking at the official opening of British American Tobacco Company Nigeria, BATN, head office in Lagos, Obasanjo said: “Government must partner with private sector to attract both local and foreign investments.
”In 1999, Nigeria emerged as a democratic nation and needs sustenance and support from private sector from within and outside its economy. A few investors were skeptical about the political and economic climate of Nigeria. The government then embarked on reforms programme and intensify calls for investment in Nigeria, bringing various investors and providing them with necessary information and government incentives and opportunity. So, BATN was among the first set of companies to take us serious and believe in the country.
“In the year 2001, BATN was the first tobacco company to sign a Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Grovernment which led to an investment of $150 million and the modernisation of its Zaria factory.”
He noted that the commissioning of the company’s office complex in Lagos signified continuity of business in Nigeria and it was also in the midst of the economic challenges that the company had showcased its entrepreneur mindset and had continued to play a key role in the social economy of the county, in the area of agricultural development and afrostation, corporate social responsibility, economic development partnership among others.
He pointed out that it was at such a time like this we are reminded of the importance of the role of private sector as the engine for economy growth.
In his remark, Senator Sam Egwu said: “The state of our economy today demands there is need for economic diversification to mineral resources to deliver economic growth.
“As a result, massive industrial development and expansion of existing industries must be rigorously pursuit and BATN seems to be leading in this.
“However, industries in Nigeria must operate within the laws of the country and in line with international best practices, considering the peculiarity of its products.
“As legislators, the Senate, and by extension, the National Assembly Committees on Industry, are committed to ensuring the creation of conducive environment that will enable the private sector to enhance massive industrial development in the country.”