By Victor Asije
The Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stephane De Loecker, on Monday said that it was imperative for Nigeria to create a more friendly investment environment to sustain herself as an investment destination.
Loecker told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that his government was determined to help its companies come and explore new business frontiers in Nigeria.
The Ambassador, however, said that the current choices of Belgian companies’ investment in Nigeria, as determined by the companies, would be ‘strictly commercial’.
“Overseas investment is a commercial choice that companies make after noting certain considerations. This means that Nigeria, as an investment destination, must sell itself.
“As for encouraging further venture in Nigeria, Belgium is determined to help her companies find new business frontiers, and Nigeria remains the biggest economy in Africa.
“Unfortunately the Belgian government cannot ‘make’ more of its companies to come and invest in Nigeria as such choices are strictly commercial ones, and up to the companies to decide,’’ he said.
According to him, there is the possibility of Belgian high-level economic missions to Nigeria in the coming years.
Loecker said that for more foreign investment to come into Nigeria, the government needed to examine the country’s position in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business’’ publication.
The Envoy also said that as much his government supported free market conditions, it believed that FOREX and import controls were not favourable to free market conditions.
He added that Nigeria’s current FOREX and import controls were affecting Nigerian and foreign businesses.
The Ambassador also said that the signing of the ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement would greatly facilitate trade between Nigeria and Belgium, as well as countries of the EU.