The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign trips were good for the country as they aimed to woo more investment for Nigeria.
Some Nigerians have lamented the series of foreign trips by the President.
Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, presided over by President Buhari, said the President’s trips were necessary to get Nigeria back in the community of nations.
He said Nigeria almost became a pariah state under the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mohammed was with the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed and Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman.
He said: “You do not run a country by being isolated and the presence of the President in many of these fora is important because, before now, we were almost a pariah state and the two things that have been driving investments away from this country is terrorism and corruption.
“One thing that nobody can fault this President on is his determination to fight these two ills. Mr President’s presence in these fora is crucial to the economy back home. What I mean by Nigeria being a pariah state is that before now the level of corruption was high. Nobody was ready to risk his investment in Nigeria.
“The cost of doing business was so high that most international businessmen didn’t want to come here. Who is coming to invest in a country where there is insecurity? These are the twin problems that Mr President has addressed in nine months.”
Fielding questions on the update on the 2016 Budget, he said Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been going to defend their budgets at the National Assembly.
According to him, the budget would soon be passed.
Speaking further on the President’s trips, Amina Mohammed said Mr. President has a Vice President and a cabinet to handle issues whenever the President is out of the country.
She said: “The cabinet stays with the Vice President here as much as possible to try to address those challenges you are talking about on a daily basis.
“But the investment that we make with the President’s travel is worth the investment we are getting from those visits. We hope to see the President going out and advocating for this country to get more investment so that we can take everyone out of poverty. That is what is important. We see it as an investment with a return worthwhile,” she stated.
They earlier said the two issues discussed in FEC were the report on the Conference on Climate Change in France between November 30 and December 12, 2015, and the benefits of the foreign trips by the President.