PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has launched his government’s new Nigerian Visa Policy (NVP) 2020 which breaks down the country’s visa categories into 79 classes from the current six as part of a drive to woo international investors.
As part of a move to diversify the Nigerian economy, the government is seeking to woo foreign investors and as part of this process needs to improve the ease of doing business. According to President Buhari, this new visa policy will improve the business environment, attract foreign direct investment and boost tourism without compromising national security.
Earlier today, President Buhari officially launched the new regime at the presidential villa, , saying that the initiative is intended to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local capacity. He explained that the implementation of NVP 2020 will support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.
Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s spokesman, said: “Earlier in the course of this Administration, we introduced the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 with one of the objectives being to minimise bottlenecks which impede innovation and market-based solutions for building an inclusive economy. The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is intended to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available ones.”
President Buhari also noted that NVP 2020 provides an avenue to achieve African integration through the introduction of visas on arrival for short visits to Nigeria for holders of passports of African Union countries. Interior minister Rauf Aregbesola, added that the visa policy took into consideration specific needs of foreigners who would want to visit Nigeria, without compromising the security of the country.
He added that the policy had followed a process that considered the security, economy and territorial integrity of the country, and would only be issued after due diligence with other security components of the country. Mr Aregbesola said: “Especially, the new visa policy will be helpful to diaspora Nigerians by birth who can now use other passports to visit the country because some countries do not allow dual citizenship.”
Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede, said the service had already put in place a technological hub, called the Migrants Information and Data Analysis, to ensure strict compliance with the conditions for the issuance of the visa. He assured that issues of corruption or bribery will be controlled by the automated system, while allaying fears of possible infiltration of the economy by criminals and terrorists.
Mr Babandede said the new policy has 79 categories, which include health, education, tourism etc, He added that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, National Intelligence Agency and the Interpol also made inputs into the system and would be carried along in the processing before approvals.