•Tinubu hails Indian investors, urges them not to procrastinate as Nigeria offers best return on investment
•Nigeria signs three MoUs with India on digital technology, successful ecosystems, investment opportunities
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The on-going first official visit of President Bola Tinubu to India has started yielding results as Indian investors yesterday, assured the Nigerian leader of their readiness to facilitate fresh $14 billion investment into the West African country.
The investment pledges formed the bedrock of the Nigeria-India Presidential Roundtable and Conference held in New Delhi, the Indian capital, on the second day of Tinubu’s visit to the Asian nation.
According to a statement issued by presidential spokesperson, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, listed the new investments to include Indorama Petrochemical Limited, which pledged a new investment of $8 billion in the expansion of its fertilizer production and petrochemical facility in Eleme, Rivers State.
Jindal Steel and Power Limited, one of India’s largest private steel producers also committed to investing $3 billion in Nigeria, following discussions with Tinubu on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in New Delhi, India.
Similarly, the founding President of SkipperSeil Limited, Mr. Jitender Sachdeva, announced that following Tinubu’s personal intervention, he would be investing $1.6 billion in the establishment of 20 100MW power generation plants across the states of northern Nigeria, amounting to 2,000MW of new power within the next four years.
Additionally, Tinubu approved finalisation on a new $1 billion agreement to bring the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to 40 per cent self-sufficiency in local manufacturing and production of defense equipment in-country by 2027, through a comprehensive new partnership with the Managing Arm of the Military-Industrial Complex of the Indian Government.
Another Indian firm, Bharti Enterprises, which is a major first-generation corporation in India, with interests in telecom, space communications, digital solutions, insurance, processed foods, real estate, and hospitality, expressed its commitment to invest an additional $700 million in Nigeria, with work set to begin immediately.
Tinubu is attending the G20 at the invitation of India, which currently holds rotating Presidency of the bloc.
According to the statement, Tinubu in the course of the Nigeria-India Presidential Roundtable and Conference on the sidelines of the G20, commended Indian investors for significant investment pledges amounting to nearly $14 billion, saying, “we are ready to give you the best returns for investment possible, there’s nowhere else like our country. Nigeria offers the best returns for investment today, so invest now.”
Emphasising that under his pragmatic leadership, agreements must now manifest in industries and jobs on the ground in Nigeria, Tinubu expressed gratitude to all Indian companies and individuals who have responded positively to his administration’s efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic and investment climate.
“Do not procrastinate. Don’t be frightened about investments in Nigeria. Bring it on. Ask your questions and make your requests. The trade and investment opportunities are enormous.
“I have a team, and I am the captain of that team, and I assure you that we solve problems,” the president affirmed.
Prospective investors were informed by Tinubu, that in Nigeria, there was no free lunch or shortcuts, but that he has, “good economic policy for the investors as well as able men and women in leadership and on the ground, who can drive the goal of broad prosperity through investment and infrastructure.
“I will captain and lead the course of investment, development, and prosperity for the largest democracy in Africa and for investors from the rest of the world,” the president added, reiterating that Nigeria was open for business with intelligent, innovative, capable, and highly committed individuals in government, who were ready to drive the largest economy in Africa to destiny.
The president also told the Summit that, “he is proud,” that the Nigerian stock market had broken records in its consistent bullishness since he assumed office.
Also speaking, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, who addressed the roundtable whose theme was, “Building Partnerships with Renewed Hope for a Diversified and Prosperous Economy,” thanked Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Mr. Naveen Jindau, for the new $3 billion investment in iron ore processing and steel development in Nigeria.
Commending the Tata group and so many others who immediately responded to Tinubu’s bold and decisive moves to correct the major systemic faults in the macro-economic and investment climate in Nigeria, the Finance Minister noted, “I also wish to thank Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, for his continued commitment to invest in the first phase at least $700 million dollars more in Nigeria.”
The minister further used the opportunity to explain the underlying principles of Tinubu’s eight-point strategy, emphasising that his agenda aimed to promote growth and job creation, poverty reduction, food security, improved access to capital, inclusivity, business and citizen security, and fair play on a foundation of rule of law and anti-corruption.
Responding on behalf of investors, the Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, told the president that: “You have unified the FX market. You have freed up crucial capital to upgrade your public infrastructure. Now, you have just dropped your prepared remarks and have spoken from your heart.
“Our investors have heard from a leader who is doing everything possible to attract capital to Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerians and our companies.
“Mr. President, we will bring these investments to Nigeria, and with your inspiring leadership style, we can only do more and more.”
Also at the event, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, and his counterpart from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Co-operation in the field of Sharing Successful Digital Solutions, to be implemented at total population scale for digital transformation.
The Minister also signed an MoU with the Central Square Foundation for Co-operation in the field of Sharing Successful Ecosystems, which involved interventions relating to education technology, to be implemented at population scale for digital economic transformation.
Under the watch of Nigeria’s Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, a third MoU on Infrastructure Development was signed between the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (InfraCorp) and Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India, which helps investors looking for investment opportunities and options in India.
Closing the interactive session, the Director-General of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, noted that the Presidential Roundtable served as a robust foundation for Indian businesses looking to engage with Nigeria and would encompass cooperation across key areas, such as capacity building, skills development, agriculture, and the enhancement of digital and physical infrastructure, among others.
“Under the determined leadership of President Tinubu, the CII is prepared to dispatch a high-level delegation to Nigeria, and we are keen on establishing a second presence in Africa, with Nigeria as our target destination,” he added.
Tinubu, thereafter met individually with each of the top pledging investors to finalise on the next steps to ensure that no environmental encumbrance stands in the way of their success in Nigeria.