No fewer than four foreign leaders have requested to meet with President Bola Tinubu in Paris, France where he is expected to participate in the New Global Financial Pact Summit organised by President Emmanuel Macron.
This is according to Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication, and Strategy, who spoke to the media on the essence of the summit on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
Among the countries he said, are France, the United States, and Switzerland.
He said the summit will enable President Tinubu on his first foreign trip since his inauguration to network in his bid to attract foreign investment to the country.
Alake said: “The President wants to network with international finance Corporations, institutions, countries that are well healed that would facilitate or that could facilitate direct foreign investment into Nigeria.
“Don’t forget that Mr President has taken some very bold steps in the area of economy, in the area of social engineering in the last few weeks, and particularly with reference to the unification of the multiple exchange rates, which has caused very positive multiplier effect.
“However, in the short term, we have noticed and expected that there will be a slight spike in the demand and then that would affect the value of the Naira viz-viz the dollar.
“So, apart from the immediate, short and long-term positive effects of that unification policy, there could be a need for an injection of direct foreign exchange into the economy to shore up the value of the naira while market forces stabilize. And in the short run or medium term, there is going to be when the effects of this policy begin to mature.
“For instance, you can now spend your money in your domiciliary account. The domiciliary account restrictions have been liberalised. So, there’s no more restriction. Once there’s money in your account, you can spend it anywhere in the world.
“Now that is going to build confidence in the foreign exchange system of Nigeria, which means people abroad can begin to bring in their money into the economy. Even those at home, who have hoarded their dollars for fear of restrictions and all that, will now be more encouraged to bring the dollars into the financial system.
“However, with all of these, you still need a direct foreign injection of foreign exchange to build or complement the domestic policies.
“That is the essence of this meeting and is a global summit and there are several heads of state of developed societies that Mr. President’s policies in the last three weeks really have encouraged these foreign nations and investors to become more interested in the affairs of Nigeria in shoring up the economy of Nigeria.
“So, a lot of them are quite interested. So many of them have even indicated interest to meet with Mr. President on this trip.
“Just upstairs now, we were having a meeting with the president, structuring some of these meetings with heads of state.
“At the last count about three, four different heads of state of developed countries have indicated a willingness to meet with him, have a chat with him and explore areas of cooperation, on the economy, on agriculture, on other areas that are salient to the development of Nigeria’s economy. That is generally the essence of this meeting.”
Asked to name the countries wanting to see President Tinubu, he said: “Quite a number of them, the US, France itself, Switzerland and one or two others that I can’t readily recall now. There are so many institutions, international financial institutions that are also willing to see him.
“Some of them we are structuring either for tomorrow or Friday to meet with him with his team, and then consolidate some of the issues and provide, you know, more encouraging rhetoric for those people to come in and invest in Nigeria.
“Don’t forget that in the recent past, a lot of international investors exited Nigeria, because of the restrictive currency policies that we had, which made business to be so stifled.
“But now that these are being liberalized, and they are freed to market forces, in the short run, we will need very comprehensive and robust direct foreign investment into the country.
“So, we are very, very hopeful, that some of these meetings we are going to have will come to fruition and will bear very positive fruits and yield results for Nigeria.”