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FG in desperate drive for FDIs, asks embassies to soften Visa conditions

In a desperate move to increase injection of fund to the economy as the Federal Government has directed all its foreign missions abroad to commence a 48-hour visa issuance regime for those willing to do business with Nigerians.

Addressing journalists recently, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said the bottlenecks associated with visa issuance in all its foreign missions should be discontinued in order to make it easy for potential investors to come into Nigeria and do business.

According to the government, more reforms are underway to recharge business environment in a way both old and new investors will see Nigeria as a stress-free place to do business.

The Minister recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council to drive government’s effort to identify and reduce bureaucratic processes and regulations that impede the private sector.

He revealed that the Federal Government, through the PEBEC, had been working on three priority reform areas with 17 quick wins to reposition the investment climate.

Key areas of the new deal include entry and exit of goods where seven reforms will be carried out; entry and exit of people where six reforms will be carried out; as well as government and transparency with four reforms.

Enelamah hinted further that “Our visa on arrival procedure is now fully operational, with an upcoming increase in the number of eligible countries. Directive has been issued on 48-hour visa issuance by Nigerian missions abroad”.

“We have foreign missions in almost all the major countries of the world and we feel the missions should be used to sell Nigerian products abroad, and also used as a point for those who want to invest in Nigeria to make their enquiries.”

In her remarks, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said the ministry had secured a grant of over $600,000 from the African Development Bank for pre-development study towards the conversion of six out of the 23 Industrial Development Centres in the country to industrial clusters.

But analysts who spoke to our correspondent expressed reservations on the new drive for investors when critical reforms that will first of all encourage indigenous and existing foreign investors are yet to be noticed.

It would be recalled that latest ranking of Nigeria on the list of ease of doing business by the World Bank showed serious drop even before the additional investment confusion created by forex crisis and latest bans.

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