Nigerian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Yusuf Tuggar, has stressed the commitment of the federal government to a functional and business-friendly environment.
Tuggar said this in his welcome address at the sixth German – Nigerian Business Forum held in Frankfurt on Wednesday.
He noted that in recent times, the narrative on Nigeria had been that of oil, corruption and Boko Haram. These, he said had in one way or another become the principal lenses through which many have viewed Nigeria.
According to the envoy, that narrow perspective – alongside long-standing erroneous stereotypes of Africa and Africans – are impediments leaders in the continent are committed to uprooting.
“I am happy to proclaim that there are many reasons for us not to despair. Where we allow negative perceptions delivered in comfortable clichés free rein, we permit narratives that are riddled with distortion. We must not be diverted and deflected from fully engaging the opportunities that abound between us.
“Transition, like other forms of change, is notoriously difficult to manage and can often be destabilising. President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to restore the primacy of the rule of law necessarily means an end to “business as usual”. Our president has popular support and is resolute in his determination to make Nigeria better placed than ever to revisit its development trajectory.
“My task in reshaping perceptions of the Nigerian narrative here in Germany is made infinitely easier by the passion and commitment of our government to renewing the basis of our domestic affairs as well as our global engagements. Nigeria is transitioning to a different kind of economic foundation, as well as a political culture more accepting of the scrutiny that comes with our commitment to transparency,” he said.
The ambassador noted that the centrality of oil to Nigeria’s economic disposition over the last few decades had proven to be a misadventure that policymakers are consciously working to countervail.
This, according to him, was the major reason why the Nigerian government took the strategic decision to decouple the economy from inordinate dependence on oil. Furthermore, he argued that the federal government has been breaking new ground in laying the foundation for Nigerians and others to grow into new and more future-oriented businesses in the country.
He added: “At every opportunity, the Nigerian government’s commitment to renewing the country is evidenced in its approach to new challenges. The approach to renewal through the six Special Economic Zones spread across the country to pioneer advanced research, engineering and production speak of change.
“As I stand here before you, as a representative of my country, let me reiterate the Nigerian government’s commitment to being unrelenting in the struggle against corruption. That fight will never be done until the cancer is excised from our body politic.
“Going forward, no area – not politics, not the economy, not domestic business, nor in international business and cooperation – in no area will there be immunity for corruption. Our objective is to make the business and regulatory environment user-friendly.
“Those of you who are regular visitors to Nigeria and who closely follow Nigerian affairs will testify that real reforms are afoot across a range of key business-related sectors. The impulse for significant change is firmly embedded into a range of critical areas, such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan, the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, the National Action Plan and the Ease of Doing Business Plan.”
He assured his audience that the Nigerian embassy would continue to be a place where information can be sought and gathered, expressing the government’s commitment to facilitating beneficial responses to all legitimate enquiries from the German business community.
“In line with this administration’s fundamental and forward-looking reforms, we hope to reshape the Nigerian narrative here in Germany, and broader afield, in Europe. We will endeavour to share with you fundamental reforms periodically introduced by the Buhari government that will be of interest to you. In return, we look forward to an honest and healthy exchange of views, to our mutual benefit.
“There comes a moment in a nation’s destiny when the status quo is universally recognised as unsustainable. That is the case with the way Nigeria has hitherto gone about its business. The prevalence of impunity, allied to a lack of transparency meant that our nation lost much time and wasted even more resources. There are no more resources to waste and no more time in which to waste them,”Tuggar said.