President Bola Tinubu has assured prospective investors in Nigeria that his administration will provide a better business climate for them to thrive.
President Tinubu made the commitment on Monday during an audience with the Founder and Global Chairman of BHARTI AIRTEL, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Africa Group Chief Executive, Segun Ogunsanya, and their team at the State House, Abuja.
While receiving the Airtel delegation, President Tinubu recalled his historic connection with the telecommunication company when it started as Econet Wireless while he was Governor of Lagos State, stating that he facilitated and supported the entry of the company into Nigeria to liberalise the telecommunication industry.
The Nigerian leader praised the growth of the company and welcomed the offer of partnership to further deepen economic growth and eradicate poverty among Nigerians.
He also commended the economic strength of India in Asia, noting how technology had helped the largest democracy in the world to pull millions out of extreme poverty.
“I have a connection with Airtel. We brought Econet to Nigeria when I was governor of Lagos State. I was a main promoter then because we needed to liberalise the telecom industry. The economy of Asia headed by India is very phenomenal because of reforms. We are ready to copy India.
“Digital economy is very crucial. We are not ashamed to copy any model that works. I congratulate Airtel for the growth of your business in Nigeria. We are looking forward to the growth and expansion of your 5G network in Nigeria. Airtel should continue to promote Nigeria.
“I assure you that your investment is very safe and will continue to grow. We are working to improve business environment for all investors,” the President said.
In his presentation, the Global Chairman of Bharti Airtel, Mitall, congratulated President Tinubu and offered him the goodwill of his company and that of his country, India, noting that besides being a businessman and investor in Nigeria he is a member of Business Advisory Council of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mitall showered encomiums on President Tinubu for the key decisions he has taken within just three weeks in office, which have put Nigeria back on global business reckoning.
“I came here to make a request, but I have to say thank you first. We are grateful for what you have done with the removal of fuel subsidy and fixing the foreign exchange. This will open a floodgate of foreign investments. You have taken these bold steps. It is important to stand firm. Airtel is a robust telecom company and we are ready to serve Nigeria,’’ Mitall added.
The Special Adviser to the President on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun, in his remarks, said President Tinubu had always recognised the transformational power of technology and telecommunication for economic growth since his time as governor of Lagos State.
On the challenge of vandalism of telecom infrastructure, Ogunsanya pleaded with the President to prioritise it as national security issue that should be addressed:
“It is in our interest to provide better service but we are always faced with the destruction of our infrastructure, especially our fibre optic cables. Telecom infrastructure should be taken as critical national assets that must be protected.
“We believe in the digital transformation of Nigeria. I am committed to this country because I am a Nigerian and this market is the biggest under my portfolio. We can take millions of our people out of poverty with the digital transformation of our economy.”