President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the new Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP) 2020, which breaks down the country’s visa categories from six to 79 classes.
The president performed the official presentation at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday, saying the initiative was intended to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local capacity.
Buhari explained that the implementation of the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 will support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.
According to him, the policy will improve the business environment, attract Foreign Direct Investment and boost tourism without compromising national security.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying: “Earlier in the course of this Administration, we introduced the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) with one of the objectives being to minimise bottlenecks which impede innovation and market-based solutions for building an inclusive economy.
“The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is intended to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available ones.”
The President also noted that the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 provides an avenue to achieve African integration by the introduction of visas on arrival for short visits to Nigeria for holders of passports of African Union countries.
“I, therefore, recommend the document to the international community, foreign and local business entities. We are open for business,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the visa policy took into consideration specific needs of foreigners who would want to visit the country, without compromising the security of the country.
The minister said the policy had followed a process that considered the security, economy and territorial integrity of the country, and would only be issued after due diligence with other security components of the country.
“Especially, the new visa policy will be helpful to diaspora Nigerians by birth who can now use other passports to visit the country because some countries do not allow dual citizenship,” he added.
In a technical presentation, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, said the service had already put in place a technological hub, called the Migrants Information and Data Analysis (MIDAS), to ensure strict compliance with the conditions for the issuance of the visa.
Babandede assured that issues of corruption or bribery would be controlled by the automated system while allaying fears of possible infiltration of the economy by criminals and terrorists.
He said the new policy has 79 categories, which include health, education, tourism etc, pointing out that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Interpol also made inputs into the system, and would be carried along in the processing before approvals.