The Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Singapore
The Honorable Commissioner of Commerce and Industry
Iyalode Alaba Lawson, MFR, Chairperson, Business Women Group, NACCIMA
Chief (Mrs) P. Kuye, President, Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria
Official from National Agency for Foods and Drugs Admin and Control
Official from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Delegates from Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are very pleased to all of you for honoring our invitation with your distinguished presence to the International Enterprise Singapore Food and Beverage trade mission to Nigeria. This is a mission that would pave the way to a better Nigeria-Singapore business relationship.
As Nigerians, we are conversant with the giant strides made by the government and people of Singapore in the transformation of their country from being a third to a first world. We are aware that they have the most business friendly regulation in the world and have successfully led the world in the ease of doing business as compiled by the World Bank in the past four years. We are also conscious of their global business competitiveness rating, the first class facilities and access to good governance (e-government) that has made Singapore the envy of the whole world.
Presently, Singapore ranks as one of the fifth largest economies in the world by gross domestic product. We are therefore privileged to have them here. By the International Enterprise Singapore beaming the searchlight on Nigeria is a sign of a better relationship ahead for both countries, both commonwealth nations with a bond in the English Language.
I wish to inform the delegation that by this Mission, they are not only delivering their products to the 150 million people resident in Nigeria but to the entire West African sub-region and its strong 350 million people as Nigeria serves as the gateway. Entering the Nigerian market has its challenges but there are ample opportunities for business. Today it is commerce, tomorrow it would be industry! According to the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Singapore, Chief Haresh Aswani, MFR, ‘the truth is that Nigeria is the next frontier’. Economic progress has been made especially in open attitudes towards global outreach by both business and government.
Business intelligence shows that Nigeria remains a country to be beaten in sub Saharan Africa as an investment destination. According to the World Bank, Nigeria’s macroeconomic performances over the past years have been commendable and include the following: growth in the non-oil sector, reduced inflation rate, increase in international reserves, bank reforms, improvement in credit rating, adoption of common external tariff, liberalization and privatization. Culturally, Nigerians are outward looking in terms of business and are known for creating opportunities.
To this end, we implore the International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING that opportunities exist in Nigeria for investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, information and communication technology, hospitality, financial services and foods etc. Singapore food and beverage companies should consider setting up packaging, canning plants and develop franchises for the return on investment is high. In the words of His Excellency, Mr. Shabbir Hassanbhai, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, ‘a return on equity as much as 20% is realizable in Nigeria and it is one of the highest in the world’. The federal and state governments are working on providing enabling environments for businesses to thrive in the country. Take advantage!
Finally, special thanks to Orissa International for providing us the window of opportunity to work with the people and government of Singapore as the local host. We look forward to more opportunities.
Thank you all for your patience.