Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo while on a state visit to Poland March last year has set a target of about US$20mn investment from Poland taking into consideration the numerous incentives put in place by his administration to encourage foreign investors.
But the commercial counsellor of the Polish Embassy, Andrzej Kowalew argued that these measures are not good enough to encourage investors because of the high cost of doing business in Nigeria.
Kowalew speaking on the contribution of the Polish industry to Nigerian economy at the seminar organised by the embassy in Abuja recently, pointed out that projected investment inflow into Nigeria from Poland has been delayed because of the past perception of the Poles about Nigeria which the embassy is trying hard to erase.
“I believe it is our obligation to change the conservative attitude of Polish managers and persuade them to examine the business opportunities in Nigeria. On the other hand, we expect that business environment in Nigeria would significantly improve,” the counsellor said.
According to him, despite the return of the country to democracy, the bilateral trade relations between the two countries are yet to be utilised to the benefit of both countries. To buttress his point, Kowalew noted that out of 60 Nigerian-Polish joint ventures so far established since Nigeria gained independence, only a few of them are functional. He used the occasion to enumerate various areas that Poland is active in the Nigerian economy.
He added: “I will start with geophysical and geological research which usually precedes planning and projecting of any large industrial project. In the seventies Polish company National Geophysical Enterprise from Warsaw performed an extensive and detailed research of Jos Plateau. The result of the research and maps are used even today. Polish companies Geopol and Polservise were engaged in hydrological research in northern Nigeria in states of Kano, Kaduna and Plateau.
“In the construction sector there is a number of Polish companies engaged in various projects. Budimex performed a number of large municipal and housing projects. The company took part in constructing complex pipeline systems connecting the refineries in Warri and Port Harcourt to central and northern parts of the country. Another Polish company active in oil sector is Instalexport.
“They were a contractor of a project for erecting a refinery in Alesa Eleme.
“Centrozap projected and delivered installations and machineries for steel plant in Koko.
Elektrim was the first Polish company from the power sector to enter Nigerian market. “They performed a number of project, some of them in co-operation with another Polish company Megadex.
“Kopex began their activity in Nigeria in coal mining sector in1979.”