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Why we were absent from US-Nigeria investors' summit - Adeosun, Emefiele

Why we were absent from US-Nigeria investors' summit - Adeosun, Emefiele

- The minister of finance has revelaed why key members of the cabinet were absent at the US-Nigeria investors summit

- Kemi Adeosun in a joint press conference with the Central Bank of Nigeria governor said they were not invited

- Their response followed a backlash from the Emir of Kano over their failure to be present in such an important event

The federal government has explained why Nigerian representatives were absent at the US- Nigeria Investment Summit 2018, organised by the embassy of Nigeria.

Daily Trust reports that the minister of finance Kemi Adesoun and the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, in a joint press briefing said the federal government was not aware of the event.

The duo also said that no member of the cabinet was invited for the event themed: Nigeria is open for Business.

Adeosun said: “There has been some controversy over the scheduling; I wasn’t due at any event. I was here as a governor of the IMF and member of IMFC to represent the 23 African countries and that schedule is what I must adhere to. I think maybe there were some scheduling challenges there.”

Also collaborating with the remarks by the minister, the CBN governor said they were in Washington to attend statues meetings.

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He said: “We are here to attend the statues meetings. For the minister of finance and for me being the governor of the CBN, what takes pre-eminence is the meetings in the IMF as well as the meeting at the World Bank.

“When I arrive in Washington the officials of the embassy spoke with me that there was going to be a US-Nigeria summit and I said will check my schedule because I was not consulted when this summit was being organized.

"What one would have expected is that they would have checked my schedule and that of the finance minister if they thought that our presence at the summit was very necessary. They could have checked our schedule to see that there was no conflict. There was no way the minister of finance and myself could have been at those meetings," the CBN governor said.

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Emefiele added that its is unfair for some people to begin to cast aspersions without understanding their schedules.

"The main reason we are here is because of the statues meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. We are not irresponsible people and please we apologise to those investors who had gathered at the Nigerian embassy for the summit.

"My apologies but I know we also held some side meetings with some investors and there will always be lots of opportunities to meet with them. But I want to say this is not the fault of the minister of finance and myself the CBN governor," Emefiele noted.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, had decried the attitude of Nigerian ministers towards the summit. He said the neglect by the ministers was unacceptable as the summit was aimed at attracting investors into the Nigerian market.

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Speaking at the summit, Sanusi said: “We have a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start by 9 am we started at 10. When I came in they took me to the ambassadors office to sit down, when investors were waiting down there."

"We had a list of people who were to be there, vice president, minsters, some of them are in town, but they haven’t come up. You invite top investors, your ministers are in Washington and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria. That is not how you attract investors," the Emir lamented.

Meanwhile, reported that the minister of finance had promised that the federal government had concluded steps to prosecute and shame tax evaders in Nigeria.

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Adeosun said individuals and businesses that fail to utilise the tax amnesty programme - the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) - to regularise their tax profiles would be prosecuted.

She said the federal government would strictly adhere to the confidentiality of the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters, in line with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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