President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Dutch companies that their investments will be safe, and yield fruitful returns.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari gave the assurance at a meeting with chief executive officers of the companies on the sidelines of his official visit to The Hague, Netherlands.
Buhari said: “stability was the first thing in our campaigns. You have to secure a country first, before you can efficiently manage it.
“Before businesses can thrive, security is paramount. That is why we lay so much emphasis on securing the country.
“After security, our next emphasis is reviving the economy, and then, fighting corruption.’’
He commended the many Dutch-owned companies operating in Nigeria for ensuring fairness in their business dealings.
According to the president, the relationship dates back more than two generations, and it is now almost a blood relationship rather than commercial.
While urging operators of the businesses to build factories in Nigeria, and source raw materials locally rather than wholesale import, Buhari said he was impressed with the economic cooperation between Nigeria and Netherlands.
Speaking specifically about Royal Dutch Shell and the harnessing of Nigeria’s gas potential, the President said: “we are more of a gas nation than petroleum producing country.
“We should be making more money from gas today than we make from petroleum, but the plans we made were scuttled.
“When I was Petroleum Minister (in the 1970s) for three-and-a-quarter years, the plan we had was to have 12 LNG trains by 1983, but more than a generation later, we are just on the 7th train.
“This was because some people came, and did just what they liked. If they knew what they were doing, we would have gone very far by now.’’
The statement also quoted Mr David Suddens of Vlisco as saying the “company would invest on 400 hectares of land for a textile park in Nigeria’’, while Mr Hein Schumacher of FrieslandCampina described Nigeria as “a most important country to us’’.
He added that the conglomerate would invest about 11 million Euros in a “ready to drink project, using 100 per cent locally sourced milk.’’
He also pledged continuous training for dairy farmers, and provision of fortified milk for school pupils.
Mr Andrew Brown of Shell, which has done business for over 60 years in Nigeria, with over 3,000 local employees, said the company would maintain its emphasis on oil and power generation.
Mr Roland Pirmez of Heineken on his part commended the government for the “stability in exchange rate for the past six to eight months.’’
He added that the company was also planning to use renewable energy for its power needs,
Mr Klaus Struilesma of Cownexxion Company indicated interest of the organisation in building cattle ranches in Nigeria.
The statement disclosed that more than 20 CEOs of Dutch-owned companies were at the roundtable meeting.In