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President Buhari to depart for Saudi Arabia on Monday

Valentine Chinyem

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President Muhammadu Buhari, is billed to attend the third edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) taking place in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In liue of this, the president will depart Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Monday.

This was made known in a statement released by Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, on Sunday.

He said the event which is organised by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and is themed, ‘What’s Next for Global Business?’

The event is scheduled to hold from October 29 to October 31, and will focus on three key pillars: sustainable future, technology for good and advanced society.

Shehu said the three-day event would be chaired by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who is also the deputy premier, chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and PIF.

“Given the increased investor confidence in Nigeria’s economy, President Buhari will use the occasion to speak about the economic opportunities that abound in Nigeria, the effectiveness of his administration’s policies to improve the business environment and invite investors to the country,” the statement read.

“It is noteworthy that the total value of capital inflow into Nigeria increased from 12 billion dollars in the first half-year of 2018 to 14 billion dollars for the same period in 2019.”

According to Shehu, the Nigerian delegation will leverage the resources in Saudi’s PIF, which aims at becoming one of the largest and most impact sovereign wealth funds in the world.

The delegation, he further stated, would seek foreign investments in critical projects in the country’s oil and gas sector, particularly the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline – the 614 km-long natural gas pipeline currently being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“Nigerian officials will also take advantage of the summit to accelerate discussions on the planned interest of the Saudi Oil Company, Aramco, to revamp Nigeria’s refineries and new investments in the oil and gas sector,” he said.

The president, according to Shehu, will be accompanied by Babagana Zulum, Abubakar Bagudu and Aminu Masari, governors of Borno, Kebbi and Katsina state.

Also on the entourage are Zubairu Dada, the minister of state for foreign affairs; Niyi Adebayo, minister of industry, trade and investment; Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, and Ibrahim Pantami, the minister of communications and digital technology..

Others include the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno (rtd), the national security adviser; Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, and Mele Kyari, the group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

After the conference in Riyadh, Shehu said the president would proceed to Makkah, accompanied by close personal aides, to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) before returning to Abuja.