Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday rang the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. The invitation was in recognition of Tinubu’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment into Nigeria.
In a speech to investors at the Nigeria-U.S. Executive Business Roundtable held just after the closing bell, Tinubu assured prospective investors that Nigeria is a safe haven for their investments. He cited the reforms he has implemented as president, such as unifying the foreign exchange rate market, to boost confidence in the Nigerian economy.
“Nigeria is an opportunity that is impossible to replicate or find elsewhere in any part of the world,” Tinubu said. “We have brilliant young people who both innovate and consume at a large scale. Our entrepreneurial spirit is a major part of what makes our market totally unique, aside from demography. Nigerians build businesses and Nigerian businesses partner with other businesses to conduct larger business.”
Tinubu also pointed to the presence of cabinet officials at the roundtable as a sign of his government’s commitment to supporting foreign investment.
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, who spoke on behalf of the U.S. government, told U.S. business leaders that he was just a few hours removed from arriving in New York from Lagos, Nigeria, where he was on an official visit.
“In Lagos, I saw first hand some of the major reforms you implemented as the Governor of Lagos and the transformative effect it has had on Nigeria’s commercial capital,” Adeyemo said. “People have attested to the fact that the reforms you have put in place as President are quickly enhancing confidence. American business is paying attention to that and from what we have seen for ourselves, Nigeria is proving to be a new frontier for investment.”
American Business Council President Sops Ideriah said that the extensive turnout at the roundtable by American Business Chief Executives served as a testament to the degree to which confidence is rising in response to the actions and words of President Bola Tinubu’s administration with respect to ease of business, investment promotion, and his willingness to personally intervene where required to ease the historical concerns of American business people about doing business in Nigeria.
“Having all the stakeholders in the room, His Excellency the President of Nigeria being here, from government actors at the federal and state level to ministers and tax authorities present, as well as private sector industrialists in Nigeria. We are very positive about the potential of Nigeria and we are just reinforcing to our colleagues the message about the economic opportunities that exist there,” Ideriah said.
Acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji, assured the American Captains of Industry that under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, the nation’s apex tax authority will be focusing its efforts not on taxing the seed, but only on the proportionate taxation of the fruit of fully formed industry, through efficient policy synergy with Nigeria’s sub-national authorities.
“The President is a business enabler, not a handicapper,” Adedeji said. “Everything we do will be geared toward making your tax assessment and payment processes as digitally efficient and transparent as possible. We are not after the seed, but the fruit and we will keep to this commitment.”