Friday, November 13, 2015 10:28 pm
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffery Onyema, on Friday said that he would focus on attracting more foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country.
Onyema stated this at the formal hand over of the affairs of the ministry to him and the Minister of State, Mrs Khadija Ibrahim, by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Amb. Bulus Lolo, in Abuja.
He also pledged to promote Nigeria products abroad by facilitating access to world market.
The minister said operations of the ministry would be structured on the three pillars of security, economic development, and fight against corruption, adding that economic development was “absolutely crucial”.
“We as a ministry should play an enormous role in promoting economic development in our country and it has to be more than just attending meetings.
“We have to engage with all the ministries and plan with them, identifying goals, concrete deliverables, timelines for delivering on those goals and the expected results from those goals with each ministry. And then we have to go out to the outside world and see and engage directly with all our development partners, making new development partners and identifying two key things.
“How to attract foreign direct investment into the country and market access, how we can promote Nigerian goods, access other markets. Mr President has made it very clear, we cannot just depend on oil; we have to diversify.”
Onyema urged staff of the ministry to be proactive and dynamic by engaging other ministries to access foreign markets.
“It cannot be just about expecting foreign countries to make us rich by investing in our country,” he said.
The minister added that efforts would be made to efficiently engage Nigerian foreign missions and turning them into economic hubs for the nation’s economic development programme.
“We have missions and embassies in so many countries around the world and we have to turn them into hubs for our economic development programme. They have to play an important and major role in promoting access to markets in countries where they are situated and also in helping to promote foreign direct investment into Nigeria.”
On security, Onyema said that Nigeria had to “quickly and efficiently” engage with foreign partners to address the security challenges in the country.
“We will never be at peace if there is no security. So, the ministry will have to leverage our contacts, our permanent engagement with the outside world to work coherently and together in tackling this scourge.”
He said that the ministry also had an important role to play in fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“It is about discipline, integrity and respecting the law. First of all, we have to start within our ministry here, imbibe a completely new culture and set of values that conform to the vision of Mr President.
“We have to block leakages within the ministry and also all of our diplomatic missions abroad.
“We also have to have a new mind set, not always about entitlements but also about making a sacrifice for the greater good of our country. We really have to put in place the rule of law and imbibe a culture of good governance, discipline and integrity and our country will be the better for it.”
In her remarks, Ibrahim urged the staff of the ministry to contribute their quotas to the success of the ministry and that of the nation as a whole.
“We are all here to see that our country progresses. There a lot of things that need to be changed. We have, for too long, been exposed to a lot of negative things which we have to make positive in order to achieve the change that Mr President so desperately wants us to.
“We are all contributing our quota to see that this change is achieved,” she said.