NTDC thumbs up new visa policy for Nigeria

Posted: June 18, 2012 in travel & tourism

Following the announcement of a new visa for visitors into Nigeria by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday, in Abuja, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC)  has described the move as a ‘bold step’ that should boost Nigeria’s inbound tourism.

Director General of NTDC, Olusegun Runsewe, who commended President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the Federal Executive Council for introducing the new visa policy, in a statement in Abuja, Thursday, said the introduction was long awaited as it would open the floodgate for inbound tourists who are desirous of visiting Nigeria.

“The introduction of new visa regime was a bold step that was long awaited as it would open the floodgate for inbound tourists who are desirous of visiting Nigeria,” said Runsewe.

Runsewe further noted that the tourism sub sector of the economy received the news with great joy and a sigh of relief as the country would derive huge benefit from the international tourist traffic particularly from Asia, Europe and the Americas.

“Our job has been made easier now as the old visa regime was seen as a great obstacle for potential tourists into Nigeria, as we always receive complaints each time we travel abroad on official engagements by foreigners about their inability to secure visas”,  he stated.

It would be recalled that the country’s highest decision-making body, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved a new visa regime which aims at securing the nation’s borders, boosting tourism, attracting foreign direct investments and opening up the economy for employment opportunities.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who made the disclosure at a media briefing on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting in company of the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro stated that under the new visa  regime, some class of visitors would obtain their visas at the point of entry especially the international airports.

He stated further that depending on the purpose of the visit, foreigners coming into Nigeria are now to be issued visas under the following visa regime, short stay, long term of up to 10 years, temporary stay, permanent residence or the new category of investment or skill transfer visa.

Elucidating further, Moro said that the new visa regime has been approved by the Council, noting that the assumption and dynamics on the basis of which the nation’s old policy was based has changed in line with the realities of the times.

He noted that the recent security challenges facing the country, necessitates multifaceted approach to the problems including a very vital component of fighting internal security such as the mode of entry and exit to and fro the country.

So today, we have a new visa regime that contains some innovations in the sense that new elements are being introduced in line with the strategic interest of Nigeria and of course most other areas still have to be based on the principle of reciprocity. We have a visa policy in place now that is targeted at boosting tourism, attracting foreign direct investments, opening up the economy for employment opportunities and above all, a policy that seeks to secure our borders,” he stated.

Continuing, Moro said: “We now have visa at entry point. So, if a businessman, a tourist or a business delegation or a government delegation has reason to visit Nigeria at short notice to do business with Nigeria and if by any coincidence we don’t have embassy in such country, such delegation or group can come to Nigeria and obtain their visas at port of entry particularly at international airports. Of course, this is without prejudice to ensuring our internal security.

“We have short stay visa, long term visa up to 10 years, we have temporary stay visa, we have permanent resident visa and of course a new introduction now is that we have investment or skill transfer visa category. In this case, if you have a particular level of investment you want to make in Nigeria that can add value to the economy of the country, you can be given certain category of visa. In conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Labour if we classify certain skills as valuable to Nigeria that will don’t have here then we can on the basis of such skills grant you visa,” Moro stressed.

The Interior Minister regretted the non-enforcement of expatriate quota, saying that under the new visa regime, government has now introduced appropriate mechanism that will make it easier to monitor compliance.

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