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Nigeria 'safe, good for business': Kuwait envoy
By Chidi Emmanuel, Staff Writer
KUWAIT: In a bid to promote diplomatic ties and business relations, the Nigerian embassy in conjunction with the Association of Nigerians Residents in the Arabian Gulf and the Deep Impact Company will be organizing a three-day business conference from 25th-27th April 2010 at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce. The conference titled Kuwait-Nigeria Investment Conference (KNIC) is aimed at showcasing the investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Speaking at the press conference yesterday, the Vice President of the Deep Impact Company, Muneera Al-Hassawi urged investors to explore the Nigerian vast market and investment opportunities. Muneera, who has just returned from a business trip in Nigeria, rejected the negative image being portrayed by the media as baseless and unfair for the oil-rich nation. "What they (media) said is different from what I saw. Nigeria is safe and Nigerians are friendly people," she said. "The tension in Nigeria has been overblown by the media. The situation is not as bad as it is being portrayed. I didn't see any form of religious or ethnic violence during my visit to four Nigerian states- namely, Lagos, Kano, Zamfara and Katsina state," she added, urging businessmen to join the likes of Zain, Etisalat, ZJS and other multi-international companies that are reaping their business benefits in Nigeria.
In his remark, the Kuwait ambassador in Nigeria, Saad A Al-Asousi hailed the Nigeria-Kuwait relations and advised Kuwaiti investors to turn to the most populated African nation for fruitful investments. "I have found out that Nigeria is safe and good for business. It is beautiful and business friendly," the ambassador said. Buttressing Muneera's views, he added that "Nigeria is a great country with a lot of untapped resources". He hinted that both governments are working on some business ventures in areas of telecommunication, transport and oil sectors.
On Nigeria-Kuwait bilateral ties, the Nigerian ambassador in Kuwait Ahmed Gusau Bala said that both nations have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations for decades. "Kuwait and Nigeria belong to OIC, OPEC and UN among others. We admire Kuwait's democratic principles, its vibrant economy and rich cultural heritage," he said. Turning to the reforms, the envoy pointed out some of the major reforms which include a 'total war' against corruption and other financial crimes and also Nigeria's involvement as the main player in maintaining regional peace in Africa.
On the economy, Bala emphasized on what the Nigerian government calls 'the enablers' that will ensure that Nigeria becomes one of the strongest economies by 2020. Other sectors were not left alone as he unveiled other investment opportunities in telecommunications, tourism, aviation, railways, shipping, iron and steel, solid minerals and gas sectors. He hinted that the government is working out on various attractive incentives to lure investors. Also on the pipeline is a tax-exemption with import and export duties for potential investors.
By Chidi Emmanuel
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