Former Kaduna lawmaker, Shehu Sani, on Saturday said that Nigeria’s outing in Riyadh was a huge success.
He praised the pledge by the Saudis to fund the reactivation of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries and the promise to support Nigeria’s national currency as unprecedented.
He also commended the Saudis for their previous funding of infrastructural projects in Nigeria through the Islamic Development Bank and their charity work. He expressed his optimism that Nigeria, a troubled but blessed country, would never fall.
President Bola Tinubu on Thursday secured a series of investment and cooperation deals with Saudi Arabia, including a pledge by the Saudi government to invest in the revamp of Nigeria’s oil refineries and provide financial support to sustain the government’s foreign-exchange reforms.
The agreements were reached at a bilateral meeting between Tinubu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the Saudi-Africa summit in Riyadh.
According to Information Minister Mohammed Idris, the Saudi government, through Saudi Aramco, will invest in the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s four decrepit state refineries which are expected to be completed within two to three years. Nigeria is seeking more investments to revive an economy plagued by foreign currency shortages, double-digit inflation, widespread insecurity and theft of crude oil, its key export. Africa’s top oil exporter has made producing its fuels a priority for years but efforts to revamp its refineries have failed, leaving it reliant on imports.
The Saudi government also pledged to make “a substantial deposit of foreign exchange to boost Nigeria’s forex liquidity”. Under Tinubu, Nigeria has embarked on the boldest reforms in decades, scrapping a popular petrol subsidy and unifying the country’s multiple exchange rates as part of measures “aimed at improving the ease of doing business”. But liquidity has yet to return to the official currency market with the naira quoted at a premium on the parallel market.
Tinubu also assured potential Saudi Arabian investors of the safety of their investments in Africa’s largest economy, as he sought to strengthen ties between the two countries, his spokesperson said. Tinubu, who was speaking at the Saudi-Africa summit in Riyadh, promised investors “some of the world’s highest returns on investment,” spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale said. He also called for collaboration to combat Islamist insurgents, including Boko Haram, and other security challenges across Africa’s most populous nation.
The two countries on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the oil and gas industry, further deepening economic ties between them. The two leaders agreed to work together over the next six months to “develop a comprehensive road map and blueprint” to deliver on the investments, Idris said.
Sani through his X handle wrote, “Nigeria’s outing in Riyadh,Saudi Arabia appears to be a huge success. The pledge by the Saudis to fund the reactivation of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries and the promise to support our National Currency is unprecedented. The Saudis have been funding infrastructural projects in Nigeria through the IDB and have been engaged in charity work. This troubled but blessed country of ours shall never fall. Kudos to Mohammad bin Salman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry.”