President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday promised that the 2016 budget, being prepared by his administration, will be specially designed to encourage the diversification of the nation’s economy.
He said new policies and measures that would move the economy away from its current over-dependence on the oil and gas sector would be introduced.
The President, however, did not disclose the specific policies and measures.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while receiving the President of the Movement of the Enterprises of France, Mr. Pierre Gattaz, and a delegation of French investors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari made the disclosure just as the French investors sought assurances from Buhari on the safety of their planned investments in Nigeria.
Shehu quoted Buhari as saying policies being evolved by his administration to boost domestic manufacturing and attract greater investment to Nigeria’s agricultural and mining sectors would be given full effect under the 2016 budget.
The President urged Gattaz and the French trade mission, which includes over 50 companies with interest in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure development and other areas, to return to Nigeria again next year in order to take full advantage of the new policies.
He also assured the French investors that under his leadership, Nigeria would not fall short of international standards in the protection of foreign investments and the repatriation of returns on such investments.
The President agreed that domestic security and the inflow of foreign investment were intrinsically linked.
He told his guests, whose visit to Nigeria is a follow-up to his recent trip to Paris, that the Federal Government was taking all necessary measures to overcome Nigeria’s security challenges.
Buhari added, “Our government came into office at a time when many people had abandoned the country’s manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors.
“We are doing our utmost best to encourage diversification into these sectors, which can employ a lot of people and we will welcome your support in this regard.
“Ultimately, reducing unemployment will also help to improve security because unemployment and insecurity are inseparable.”
The President said Nigeria would also welcome more French investment in its power sector, noting that availability of steady power supply would lead to the reopening of closed factories and the creation of more jobs.