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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Over 250 Dutch investors storm Nigeria/Netherlands Economic Forum, Hague

font size decrease font size increase font size Print Email 29.Oct.2014 DISQUS_COMMENTS Wale Ojo-Lanre , Nigerian Tribune Rate this item1 2 3 4 5 (0 votes) The profile of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa was accentuated and profiled properly at the first Nigeria-Netherlands Economic Forum facilitated by Netherlands-African Business Council, NABC at Hotel Novohotel, World Trade Centre , The Hague, Netherlands recently. The Economic forum which was packaged and driven by Netherlands- African Business Council (NABC) in conjunction with a Nigerian private sector practitioner, Chief Cliff Ogbede, President, KLEEF and VTS Oil Group in collaboration with Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), purposely to showcase the investment potentialities of Nigeria in the tourism, agriculture, water resources, education, commerce and industry and public works among others attracted over 250 registered Dutch investors who were ready to network with Nigerians on various economic engagements and ventures. The three days intensive business forum was stuffed with seminar, conference, exhibition, meetings, and networking which also created a platform of opportunity where the few Nigerian public and private sectors role players addressed the major Dutch investors . The organisers logically packaged the forum so well that the first two days were used to position Nigeria the way it is, bearing in mind the Western media propaganda and subjective publicity of Nigeria’s challenges issues. Welcoming the participants during the opening ceremony, Bob van der Bijl, Managing Director, Netherlands African Business Council (NABC) revealed the necessity for inaugurating the forum “We at the NABC find it necessary and compelling to provide a bridge of economic and business linkage between the Dutch and Nigeria for prosperous economic interaction and productive business engagement for a cordial and bilateral interface. It is a forum as you would see that offers all participants the right business environment to engage in ample match-making platforms, creating and deepening bilateral partnership.” Bob van der described Nigeria as a country of wondrous economic assets which are relatively unknown to many investors all over the world and “as part of our charter at NABC we have to properly ensure regular economic and business interaction and interface between the Dutch business circle and Nigerians.” Bob van der Bijl “We are assuring you all that the Council will be organising such many forums where Nigerians can have access to the best business side in Netherlands “ Dr Emeka Unachukwu, President, Port – Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture who delivered a keynote speech described Nigeria as the doyen of Africa economy which is being trampled upon and relegated into the background by those powers who realises the import of a fully developed economic potentialities of the country. He revealed “There is no country in Africa which God has so blessed with almost all the mineral and human resources like Nigeria . But unfortunately, my country is being daily pummelled and thrashed with negative publicity and image which scare off business tourists and potential investors from experiencing the truth about the country.’ Dr Amadi revealed how the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan has been able to create conducive economic and social atmosphere for business to thrive in Nigeria which has transformed the country from a state of economic uncertainty to a hub of global economic growth and point of reference.” He sequentially revealed the multifarious business opportunities in Nigeria ranging from oil and gas, tourism which he described as an untapped goldmine, agriculture, education, mines, power sector, renewable energy and communication. Dr Amadi displayed his vast knowledge of the Nigerian business and economic environment in projecting the glorious economic wonders in Nigeria to the over 250 Dutch investors and participants at the forum. He pointed out the challenges and prospects in the oil sector, gave insight to gas flaring and the intention of government on this; why the Federal Government is after the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB), its benefits of such bill to local and international operators and its imports on oil producing communities in Nigeria . Chief Cliff Ogbede, President , KLEEF and VTS Oil Group, highlighted the security issues in Nigeria and described it as “being blown out of proportion “ Chief Ogbede said that “it is a fact that we have security challenges in Nigeria which are not peculiar to our country and which however the government of the day has risen up to confront frontally .” He proved to the participants that the so called security issues in Nigeria are little when compared to situations in some developed countries where business organisations are the targets of attack. “ The so called security issues are not of business organisations or personalities, but purely of pockets of crisis and chaos which have no serious impacts on business environment as being highlighted by foreign media.” Chief Ogbede commended NABC for creating the platform where Nigerians and Netherland economy met for sustainable and rewarding relationship. He pointed out that he was happy at the large turn out of Dutch investors, multi –national corporate companies and business moguls for believing in Nigeria. Chief Ogbede pointed out ‘It is gratifying and a sign of credibility and attestation to the buoyancy and growth of Nigeria economy to have companies like Eco–Power Solution, Dijkstaal International B.V, Chestron, Airborne oil and gas, BIG Machinery B.V.Cityforster Rotterdam, KPMG, Fast Forward freight, Business Explorer international Network B.V., African Business Communities, CRM Trucks en Trailers B.V.,International guidelines, ERM, Agile Development B.V.,DASUDA, IRO , E7EmiratesIIc, REVILO Aerospace, Romar International, Worldwide Food Expert, Ricoh international B.V., SGS Nederland B.V.,Nexus Hills Global Ltd, Philips , Longonot Finance, Orange Trade and Technology B.V., Westmark BV, VNU Exhibitions, SMBC Aviation capital, and so many Dutch corporate organisations from many sectors wanting to do business with Nigeria.’’ Dr Juliet Chukkas Oneako, Director – General Industrial Training Fund (ITF), in a speech, spotlighted what Nigeria and her corporation has been doing at enabling Nigeria to be competent and aligning with international standard and practices at vocational training . In her paper, “Vocational training towards economic growth,’’ Dr Oneako revealed that Nigeria the strides and challenges of her corporation in Nigeria. She pointed out that ITF has been repositioned and ready to collaborate with interested organisation in line at ensuring exchange of technical knowhow and acquiring competence at training . Dr Sally Mbanefo, Director – General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) gave a better perspective of Nigeria as a country to the participants. In her paper, “ Tourism development in Nigeria : prospects and challenges,’’ Dr Mbanefo punctured some of the negative travel advisories by some embassies as not only misleading, but conspiratorial exposed the tourism potentialities in the country. “Honestly, we have surmountable challenges. No nation is crisis free. But we are not immune to pockets of chaos and minute conflicts which are not strange to a developing country. But the fact is that the tourism prospects, investment opportunities, untapped potentialities which abound in Nigeria are far more and larger in scope than the so called crisis. With a population of above 150 million, there is no mass business or projects that will not record outstanding success.’’ Dr Mbanefo pointed out that some of these negative publicity and image being created against Nigeria were deliberately founded to scare other investors from enjoying the goodies in Nigeria by those who are reaping from the bounty economic opportunities from Nigeria. She revealed that almost all the airlines in the world are scrambling to fly to Nigeria mainly because of the business opportunities that bound in the country. General Michiel Hijmans, General Manager, Maritime Security Alliance, described the forum as ‘a well thought out and professionally packaged outing where we the Dutch have clear insight into Nigeria business potentialities and where we gained a better understanding of Nigeria as the emerging business giant of the continent called Africa, Mr Ayodele Okele, President, Agile Development, B. V. One of the few Nigerian corporate concerns operating in the Netherlands commended NABC and Nigerian – Netherlands Economic Forum for “mobilising so many companies and investors for the summit. I am impressed that a Nigerian private company KLEFF and VTS Oil Group in association with others here can summon this array of business groups and organisations all over Netherlands here to meet Nigerians. This is commendable and praiseworthy.”