Vice President Namadi Sambo on Tuesday urged Japanese businessmen to take advantage of Nigeria’s more than 85 million uncultivated hectares of arable land to enhance their business interests in the country.
The vice-president gave the advice at the State House, Abuja, during a courtesy visit by a high-powered trade delegation from Japan, led by the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Amb. Godwin Agbo.
He saId that to the present administration, agriculture was not just a programme, but a business venture that could create jobs to the unemployed youth in the country.
“We have placed great importance in the area of agriculture, which we intend to develop as a business.
“Previously in this country agriculture was considered a government programme, but agriculture shouldn’t be a programme, agriculture is a business.
“So, we want the Japanese business to come and invest in agricultural development; a large opportunity is there and the chances are there.
“We have over 85 million hectares of land that is yet to be harnessed. ”
Sambo also urged the Japanese delegation to invest in the huge potential Nigeria possessed in the agricultural sector.
He enumerated several investment domains which the Japanese could take advantage of to include the power sector, transport sector, oil and gas, petrochemicals and finance.
He said that Nigeria had put in place measures that would safeguard the business interests of all investors.
Sambo expressed Nigeria’s sympathy to the Japanese government over the tragedy caused by last year’s Tsunami in that country.
He also expressed appreciation for the confidence the Japanese had in the Nigerian business environment.
The vice president said this confidence had boosted the cordial relations existing between the two countries.
Sambo also expressed appreciation to the Japanese government for the assistance rendered to Nigeria through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Earlier, Agbo said that the Japanese trade delegation was in Nigeria to explore the huge potentials inherent in the different sectors of the country’s economy.
He said the 32-member delegation was drawn from 23 companies, including the Bank of Tokyo; Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd; Marubeni Corporation; Sanyo Foods; Kawasaki Heavy Industries Middle East FZA; and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.
Agbo added that the visit was in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment to Nigeria as enunciated in the Transformation Agenda.
In his remark, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, expressed Japan’s readiness to partner with Nigeria in achieving the objectives of its Transformation Agenda, adding: “We see great opportunities in the Nigerian economy.”
Present at the occasion were the executive secretaries of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engr. Mustapha Bello and other top government functionaries.