By Mustapha Adamu Barde
The decision between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, at a high level bilateral meeting, to establish a council aimed at promoting investments and enhancing relations between both countries is historic, looking at historical background of both countries.
The fact that it is coming during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari shows the President’s commitment to improving economic growth and employment generation through multi-dimensional approach with different countries, and Investors from all over the world. The council will comprise of government officials and business leaders.
Nigeria – Saudi Council, when established, will cover areas such as economic growth and development, investment in oil, non-oil and security.
It is expected to address the challenges in revenue generation and youth unemployment facing Nigeria. Of course this is in tandem with President Buhari’s resolve in strengthening the econmy and getting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty.
Furthermore, Nigeria has potentials in the key sectors the council will be interested in and this will be beneficial to Nigeria due to the fact that Saudi Arabia imports most of its food and cash crops. So if Nigeria can export, for instance, some agricultural products to Saudi then the investment return will surely be huge and this will in turn improve the gross domestic product of Nigeria. Also, if Saudi invests in Nigeria like it has done in other countries of the world, like India, etc, as highlighted by Prince Muhammad bin Salman, it’s a win-win situation for Nigeria and Nigerians.
The cordial relationship and respect shown to President Buhari by the Saudi Price and Prince Mohammed Salman (son of Saudi prince) is note worthy.
I was in Saudi sometime ago for lesser hajj; when I bought a plate of beans for my lunch, I realized the cost is huge because it is more expensive than buying a delicious plate of rice and chicken in Saudi Arabia. It then occurred to me that if Nigeria could have an agreement with the Saudi government on, let’s say to export beans to Saudi from Nigeria, it certainly would engender high returns for Nigerian farmers. So, now, with the agreement for the establishment of this Council I would say President Muhammadu Buhari has written his name in Gold because only time will tell the investment returns and employment opportunities of the Nigeria-Saudi Council.
Looking at different perspectives of the visit, the Nigerian citizenry should be appreciative of President Buhari’s effort to attract investors to Nigeria through improved government policies in ease of doing business.
History will certainly beacon with President Muhammadu Buhari that he has attracted investments from countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, America, Japan and China etc, and other foreign investors to Nigeria in such a way that challenges in economy, infrastructure, security and unemployment are adequately addressed. If previous Presidents and Heads of State had done what Buhari has achieved, by now our challenges would have reduced to the barest minimum across different sectors