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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday urged Spanish investors to tap into Nigeria’s huge potentials by investing in the country’s economy.

Buhari said this during the Nigeria-Spain Business Forum, which was also attended by Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, Mele Kyari; the president of NNPC Ltd, Margery Okadigbo; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Niyi Adebayo; and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission.

The forum was also attended by the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu; Director General of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority Umana Umana and Director General of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency Inuwa Abdulahi.

The President, in his opening remarks, said that the forum has provided an excellent platform to express, establish and enhance business relations between the two countries.

He called for an increase in trade relations between Nigeria and Spain, saying there are uncharted areas that could be leveraged to boost trade.

According to him, Nigeria’s exports to Spain amounted to $4.8 billion in 2020 while Spain’s exports to Nigeria increased from $97.2 million in 1995 to $572 million. in 2020.

He added: “Much more can be done to increase trading volume and today we have a good opportunity to explore that.

“These are currently difficult times for the global economy, but I have always had a firm belief that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity and solution.”

Kyari, who also spoke at the business forum, praised the Spanish government for being a good trading partner for Nigeria, especially in oil and gas.

He said that 26% of all liquefied natural gas produced in Nigeria ends up in Spain, while 14% of all crude oil produced in Nigeria is shipped to the country.

He said: “So it’s clear to us as a business that this is an important market for my business and we are very happy and appreciate what you have done for us. But more than that, we also know that the world we live in today needs energy.

“It will be needed tomorrow in all its forms, including IT people, car manufacturers, everyone will need energy to run machines, run our homes, run our bakeries and everything we do. We know the energy transition is real, we know net zero by 2050, 2060 is real.

“But that doesn’t mean zero hydrocarbons in 2050 or 2060. It means you’re going to have cleaner use of hydrocarbons and fossil fuels that can be converted for better use, and that starts today.

“It starts with business, so your investors will see where their money can come from, so when they invest, they have to see that they can recover their cost and get magical profits from it. And this is the perfect opportunity that we have today in our country.

“Our country has declared this to be the decade of gas, the world has accepted that gas is the fuel for the transition and it will be there after 2050, it is not going away.

“What is said is that it is going to have a cleaner use. In our country today we have the perfect environment, we have legislation that clearly created a commercial national oil company, our company will be unveiled by our president on July 19th.

Chairman of NNPC Ltd, Margery Okadigbo; NNPC Group Managing Director Mele Kyari; the chief executive of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu; Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Emeka Offor; Umana Umana, Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority; and Inuwa Abdulahi, Managing Director of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency.

In his speech, the Minister of Commerce said that as a country, Nigeria would strive to increase its trade volume with Spain, even though Spain is partly one of the most important trading partners. Nigeria’s most powerful in the European Union.

He said: “The majority of our two-way trade is how they build up in the oil and gas industry. I would like to strengthen our relationship. But you know, Nigeria is the largest part of the African continent, in terms of population and economy, we can also say with confidence that Nigeria is by far the most patriotic investment destination in Africa today.

“I am very proud to be called a Nigerian, at this extension it is backed by strong economic fundamentals.

“We will become the first largest national market in the world in terms of workforce by 2050. Nigeria also has an attractive demographic profile.