Mr Olu Raheem, the Business Finland’s Trade Commissioner in West Africa, on Sunday said that Nigerian embassies should be made to do more to attract more businesses to the country.
Raheem told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the embassies should mostly engage in facilitating more businesses rather than concentrate on promoting political and diplomatic relations.
The Finnish official also suggested that a dedicated desk be established in every Nigerian mission for them to easily access information about opportunities in Nigeria.
“Experiences have shown that it is very, very hard for foreigners to get information about Nigeria from her embassies.
“From the Nordic perspective, the Nigerian government’s concentration is more on the political and diplomatic relations.
“I think the Nigerian embassies should do more in being more like a stop point where foreign companies and investors can readily get accurate and updated information about opportunities in Nigeria.
“There should be a dedicated desk in every Nigerian embassy that foreigners can readily approach to get information on procedures for visas, work permit, local content laws and other requirements,’’ he said.
Raheem added that it had been discouraging for foreigners to be told by the embassies that their needed information would have to be sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
The trade commissioner overseeing Business Finland in Nigeria and other West African countries said that the establishment of desks across the embassies would attract more businesses to Nigeria.
Raheem said that there had been complaints from would-be foreign businesses and investors of inadequate information on the Internet on the opportunities in Nigeria for them.
“As much as this current administration is doing well, we think that there still the need to do more.
“There is a lot of transparency issue to be addressed in general. It is quite hard to get reliable information about Nigeria outside this country.
“Sometimes, the more people you ask for specific information, the more buried information these foreign companies get,’’ he said.