Dutch firms on Monday announced plans to invest more in Nigeria. While textile firm, Vlisco, said it will invest on 400 hectares of land for a textile park in Nigeria, FrieslandCampina said it plans to invest 11 million euros in milk production.
The CEO of FrieslandCampina, Mr Hein Schumacher, said the conglomerate would invest in the “ready to drink project, using 100% locally sourced milk.” He also pledged continuous training for dairy farmers, and provision of fortified milk for school pupils.
A statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said Mr David Suddens of Vlisco and Schumacher of FrieslandCampina made the announcement during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari who is on an official visit to The Hague, Netherlands.
The president met with about 20 Chief Executives of Dutch companies on the sidelines of the visit.
According to Adesina, Mr Andrew Brown of Shell, which has done business for over 60 years in Nigeria, with over 3,000 local employees, said the company would maintain its emphasis on oil and power generation, while Mr Roland Pirmez of Heineken the company was also planning to use renewable energy for its power needs.
The Heineken boss commended the government for “stability in exchange rate for the past six to eight months.”
Mr Klaus Struilesma of a company called Cownexxion indicated the interest of the organization in building cattle ranches in Nigeria.
President Buhari promised a safe and conducive environment for the companies willimg to do or comtinue doing business in Nigeria
He said: “Stability was the first thing in our campaigns. You have to secure a country first, before you can efficiently manage it. Before businesses can thrive, security is paramount. That is why we lay so much emphasis on securing the country.
“After security, our next emphasis is reviving the economy, and then, fighting corruption”.
He commended the many Dutch-owned companies operating in Nigeria for dealing fairly, noting that with many of them, “the relationship dates back more than two generations, and it is now almost a blood relationship rather than commercial.”
Urging the businesses to build factories in Nigeria, and source raw materials locally rather than wholesale import, President Buhari said he was impressed with the economic cooperation between Nigeria and Netherlands.
Speaking specifically about Royal Dutch Shell and the harnessing of Nigeria’s gas potentials, the President said: “We are more of a gas than petroleum producing country. We should be making more money from gas today than we make from petroleum, but the plans we made were scuttled.
“When I was Petroleum Minister (in the 1970s) for three-and-a-quarter years, the plan we had was to have 12 LNG trains by 1983, but more than a generation later, we are just on the 7th train. This was because some people came, and did just what they liked. If they knew what they were doing, we would have gone very far by now.”