Qatar Rescinds Decision, Disputed Business Forum to Now Hold during Tinubu’s Visit

Qatar Rescinds Decision, Disputed Business Forum to Now Hold during Tinubu’s Visit

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Business and Investment Forum (BIF) planned during the proposed official visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar, earlier disputed, would now hold, the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria has revealed.
In an official correspondence with Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar stated that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the event on March 3, 2024, as proposed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


The embassy stated, “Regarding the upcoming state visit of H.E. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to Qatar from 2nd – 3rd March 2024 and with reference to our note: ref: QEA/FA/057/24 dated 22/02/2024 regarding holding of a Business and Investment Forum (BIF) on the margins of Mr. President’s visit to Qatar on 2nd March 2024.
“The embassy has the honour to convey that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the above mentioned event on 3rd March 2024, as proposed by the Nigerian side.”


A leaked official correspondence between the Qatari government and Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week had stated that the forum would not hold during the Nigerian president’s planned visit due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between the two countries for the promotion of investment.
The leaked correspondence also noted that Qatar’s ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Tinubu desired to visit. It stated that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani, “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period”, which made him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian side for business and investment purposes.


The country added that its officials would be very busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Nigeria’s president planned to visit.
“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter had stated.


But in the latest correspondence between the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria and the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Qatari embassy said it was glad to convey the readiness of Qatar Chamber of Commerce to host the forum to the Nigerian government.


Special Adviser to Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar, Alkasim Abdulkadir, said the clarification became necessary to clear deliberate misinformation and misrepresentations in the media on the purported cancellation of the event.
Moreover, National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dele Oye, said there were no plans to cancel the Business and Investment Forum.


Oye, in a statement, said the summit was organised in partnership with the Qatari Chambers of Commerce and Industry to provide an unparalleled platform for Nigerian businesses to engage with their Qatari counterparts.
Oye said, “In light of recent developments and the circulating news regarding the upcoming Business and Investment Forum scheduled to be held in Qatar, we, at the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), wish to address our valued members, business community, and all involved stakeholders.


“We acknowledge the concerns raised following the leak of diplomatic correspondence that has led to some uncertainty regarding the forum.
“We would like to clarify that this event is a significant element of the broader context of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar, scheduled between 2 and 3 March 2024. This visit underscores the strong commitment between Nigeria and the State of Qatar to deepen bilateral economic cooperation.


“The Business and Investment Forum, organised in collaboration with Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry, is designed to provide an unparalleled platform for Nigerian businesses to engage with their Qatari counterparts.
“This event aims to explore commercial and investment opportunities across key sectors, including oil and gas, manufacturing, agrobusiness, construction, real estate, ICT, renewable energy, solid minerals, and the service sector.

“We understand that the leaked information may have caused concerns regarding the status of the forum. We wish to reassure all prospective participants and our business community that the event is being prepared with the highest level of dedication and professionalism, aiming to foster stronger business ties between our two countries.”

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