Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Thursday appealed to the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Sadanobu Kusaoke to woo Japanese companies that left Nigeria for Ghana and other African countries back.
Ngige who gave the charge during an interactive session with the Japanese Ambassador in Abuja, argued that the factors that drove them out of Nigeria have tremendously eased.
“Investment climate in Nigeria has improved with firm measures already taken by this administration to shore up power supply, effectively tackle corruption and improve the safety of lives and property.
“These are some of the factors that drove these factories, but that the iron cast resolve of the Federal Government in putting them behind us is not in doubt.
“The era where foreign investors lose their investments to fraudsters is over as government has ensured adequate protection for their investments and profits.
“So, we want you to invite Japanese companies who were here to not only come back but also invite others to invest in fertile opportunities offered in our agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors.
“Look at the potentials in our huge rubber belt across Nigeria for example. Michelin was here but relocated to a neighboring country but the opportunities for brighter business prospects is still better in Nigeria. These companies will surely do better here under the environment we are creating,” the statement issued by Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director (Press) stated.
Ngige said Nigeria would learn from the resilience of the Japanese to overcome the present economic challenges, urging Japan to fully tap into the improved investment climate in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria under the present administration has looked inwards to regain lost opportunities hence, its emphasis on agriculture and mining, calling for Japanese investments and the training of extension workers in this area.
The Minister also urged the ambassador to increase the number of Nigerians billed for participation in the yearly training programme from 50 to a thousand so as to have a meaningful impact on a large population like Nigeria.
While regretting the trade imbalance between the two countries, he pleaded with Japan to close the gap by enabling skilled Nigerians live and work in their country under the International Labour Migration policy of the International Labour Organisation.
Speaking earlier, Sadanobu Kusaoke pledged that Japan will play a more active role in Nigeria’s economic diversification programme through the expansion of its businesses into agriculture and mining. He also commended the anti-terrorism and anti-corruption efforts of the present administration as well as its determination to protect foreign investors.
“We are very hopeful that government policy is going to do well in three important areas of anti-terrorism, anti-corruption and economic diversification. But I believe economic diversification is the area where the Japanese are most useful. We have a lot of contributions to make to the diversification of the economy,” said the Japanese Ambassador.
The Ambassador tied the job creation efforts of the Federal Government to Nigeria’s ability to expand existing businesses while creating opportunities for new ones, saying that his country would encourage more Japanese to invest in Nigeria.
“I think first of all, we want to encourage Japanese business through investment here. We want to expand our existing business in Nigeria and such expansion is the most important factor to improve the labour or employment situation.
“In the last one year, there are four instances of Japanese companies that have opened businesses in Nigeria in auto-motorcycle, beverage and chemical manufacturing. Some are in joint partnership with Nigerians. We want to bring in more,” Kusaoke said.
He said these businesses apart from creating employment would assist in transfer of skills to Nigerian employees. He further extended invitation to fifty Nigerians to a yearly training programme in various skills in Japan taking off August 2017.
“The programme is intended for African youths to study at Japanese Universities or colleges, with internship in Japanese companies. We have already sent invitation for fifty Nigerian men and women. The programme will ease international job migration,” he concluded.