The president of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Germany, Kenneth Gbandi, has called on his compatriots to turn out in large numbers at the forthcoming 4th Nigerian Business & Investment Summit scheduled for 30 September and 1 October in Hamburg.
The event, part of the activities of the NIDO Germany Day 2016 to mark Nigeria’s 56th independence celebrations, will feature discussions on the way out of the country’s current economic crisis. Since 2014, the price of crude oil has fallen by more than 60 per cent on the world market, causing Africa’s most populous country enormous economic difficulties as the country relies on oil and gas exports for more than 80 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings.
Nigeria looking to its Diaspora
In an exclusive interview with The African Courier, Gbandi called on Nigerians with ideas on how the country can solve its problems to come forward with them. “The country needs our policy input now more than ever and our leaders are even looking forward to us for support,” he added. Gbandi said Nigeria was “now saddled with the onerous task of formulating long-term policies to tackle our problems which are caused by fundamental issues”. He described the “fundamental issues” as the over-reliance on oil and gas exports, poor performance of the agriculture sector and the low level of industrial activities. “Let us come together in Hamburg to tackle these issues.”
It will however not only be about brain storming about problems in Hamburg. Gbandi also pointed out that Nigeria’s current crisis actually presents business opportunities as it has now become profitable to locally produce many goods which were now still being imported. “Due to the stark devaluation of the naira, it has become unprofitable to import many consumer goods, providing opportunities for businesses to produce them locally,” Gbandi explained. “The only companies doing well in Nigeria today are those in the export business or those producing for local consumption using locally available raw materials.”
The summit, according to Gbandi, will bring together German business people and their Nigerian counterparts from home and the diaspora to deliberate on opportunities for trade and investment in Nigeria and explore possible partnerships. And there are plenty of investment opportunities; Nigeria spends 22 billion dollars annually on food import with rice, sugar, vegetable oil and milk products making about 90 per cent of this bill, Gbandi pointed out. “Do the math yourself on how vast the opportunities for producing these things in Nigeria are.”
Gbandi said the time for whoever has any plans to invest in Nigeria has come as the current efforts of the federal government to diversify the economy assure of official support for investors. “All the federal agencies associated with investment are rolling out measures to make investing in Nigeria less cumbersome,” he pointed out.
Best time for real estate
Gbandi also drew the attention of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the attractive prospects for buying properties in Nigeria now. Kayode Obembe, the principal consultant of Kayode Obembe & Company, a Lagos-based firm of real estate developers, will attend the Hamburg meeting to explain why it is especially auspicious now for Diaspora Nigerians to buy properties at home and the company will also exhibit the current offers of his company.
Due to the economic crisis, the price of real estate has been falling while at the same time the naira has also been losing value. “This makes it especially attractive for those of us abroad to purchase property at home,” Gbandi explained. “A property you could not purchase for 50,000 euros three years ago can be bought for only 30,000 euros or even less today.”
The NIDO Germany Day 2016, co-sponsored by FARMAPLANT and MoneyGram, will be rounded up on 1 October with the 2016 Leadership Award Ceremony & Dinner at which Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike will be conferred with the ‘NIDO Germany Leadership Service Awards 2016’. // Sola Jolaoso
More information on the NIDO Germany Day 2016 at: www.nidogermany.de