Haresh Aswani informed that Tolaram has been in operation in Nigeria for over 40 years. Tolaram are the manufacturers of the Indomie Noodles which has become a household name in Nigeria. He said the large consumer population was a great motivation for setting up the business there. He also identified investment policies reforms as factors that encouraged Tolaram to move away from importation and trading to industrialisation.
Tolaram manufactures its products in Nigeria. He also confirmed that the company had gone ahead to build the first deep Seaport in West Africa, at Lekki in Lagos, Nigeria. He wished however that the government to government movement is better, in particular he wished to see the conclusion of the bilateral agreements, such as the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA), Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), between Nigeria and Singapore. Alhaji Idi Farouk described Nigeria as an investment haven and urged Singaporean investors to take the initiative to move and invest in Nigeria.
He added that it would also be good to rotate the hosting of the Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum between Nigeria and Singapore. This he said will give Singaporeans the opportunity to see Nigeria and appreciate investment environment there. He also expressed the desire to a resident Singapore High Commissioner in Nigeria to better facilitate the investment drive between both countries.
Mr Chris Chatterton described Methanol as an interesting source of energy from a Nigerian perspective, given its huge oil and gas resource. Already Methanol is a major component in the production of flip flops, (Flip-flops, are a type of open-toed footwear sandal, typically worn as a form of casual wear). He identified that a large population of Nigerian still do their cooking with hard fuel such as kerosene, which is dangerous and a major pollutant, but Methanol is a better substitute.
Nigeria currently flares a considerable amount of gas, the production of Methanol would add an important value chain in the manufacturing sector of the economy. Mr Ian Lee identified three important factors to facilitate business and investment, the people to people interaction, partnerships especially with banks and investment-friendly policies.
He maintained that manpower need to be trained both ways, thus creating super highways for skilled manpower, as well for people, trade and money to flow. Banks from both countries need to collaborate, especially in issuing letters of credit, trade insurance, etc. Bilateral treaties provide huge multiplier effects to business and investments.
This article first appeared in Opportunity Nigeria 2015 and was reproduced with permission by the publisher Sun Media Pte Ltd.