FG To Review Visa Policy To Attract Foreign Investments

The Federal Government is set to review the nation’s visa policy to attract foreign investments and boost visits to the country.

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, disclosed this at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja during a stakeholders consultative meeting on Nigeria visa on Saturday.

Tunji-Ojo stated that last year’s visitor numbers was inadequate compared to the country’s population and resources, noting that policy on visas has to be reviewed to meet the standards of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.

He said, “We are determined to make sure that in the next couple of weeks, by the grace of God, the new implementation framework will be on the ground.

And people all over the world will start having easy access to the country. We want to welcome investment and people. Just last year, the number of foreign passengers that came to Nigeria whether Nigerians or non, was just less than two million people.

“That is unacceptable for a country of over 200 million people. It means that we are limiting investment and import of forex among other things. So, once we get the visa policy right and we get the implementation framework perfect, then definitely the economic prosperity will come.”

He stressed that a visa policy that attracts investments and encourages visitors to visit Nigeria from across the world without putting the country’s security in jeopardy

Speaking further, the minister stated that though it was difficult to reach a balance between easy access to visa and national security considering its delicate nature “if gotten right, it would no doubt lead to a healthy investment promotion for Nigeria”.

He said, “You see, seamless access to any country is key for investment promotion, job creation, foreign direct investment. In short, it is key to whatever a particular country wants to do or achieve to enable it to progress

The logic is that everything is built on effective visa administration. So, we are here to really talk about it and to be able to streamline the process for the better. Especially, in areas of short stay visa and even our other categories of visa to see how we can optimise them and make it more efficient in such a way that will be able to attract more investment”.

Tunji-Ojo further said if the country is right on its track, the development will open up the nation’s space for tourism, and infrastructural development.

This, he said will equally create a balance in terms of our national security architecture.

He noted that the Tinubu-led administration’s resolve is to make Nigeria’s visa policy the best in the world and that it would not rest on its oasis until it is achieved.

The renewed hope is about business unusual, it is about prioritising Nigeria by making sure that it is the best in the world and that is exactly what we are trying to achieve. It is one thing to have a policy, but it is another thing to be able to implement it

So, we are gathered here today, to deliberate on the need to use technology to reduce the waiting time to get a short-stay visa, business visa, tourism as well as entertainment. And how easy is it going to be for them to have access to their application mechanism? Why must somebody need to travel from British Columbia in Canada all the way to Ottawa, just because you want a Nigerian visa?”

He added that “What are the reasons today people go to Qatar, UK and Singapore even more than the way people go to Europe; it is because there is easier access. So, creating the right framework and having that benchmark that will be competitive, and comparable with the best in the world is exactly what we aim to achieve.

“We want to assure Nigerians that this is not just a workshop, neither are we just here to talk but to actualise it,” the Minister asserted.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Aishetu Ndayako, noted that the review has become necessary given the importance of visas to the overall development of any country.

Ndayako stated, “We are here today to discuss the significance of our collective efforts in shaping the future of visa regulations and procedures that have a profound impact on individuals, businesses and the nation as a whole.”

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