NEW YORK – (Federal Ministry of Budget & National Planning Report) – Key foreign investors during their meetings with the Nigerian Government delegation to the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York during the week have expressed interest in scaling up investments in Nigeria.
The release from the Publicity Department of the Federal Ministry of Budget & National Planning states that at the Investors Roundtable held under the auspices of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), investors noted that Nigeria has remained the best investment destination in Africa with enormous natural and human resources. They expressed belief that Nigeria’s current government has continued to show commitment to creating a conducive business environment in the country.
The Minister of Budget & National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who gave the opening remarks at the event appreciated the interest in Nigeria exhibited continually by the investors and thanked them for their willingness to spread the good news to others about the opportunities Nigeria offers to investors.
Udo Udoma further said that Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari had promised the people that he will restore peace in the troubled zones of the country, fight corruption and grow the economy. “The Buhari administration has worked hard to ensure that those election promises are fulfilled,” he said.
“The present government inherited a challenged economy with very weak fundamentals, but has worked hard towards not only getting the economy out of recession, but placing it on a path of sustained inclusive growth through a series of policy initiatives and deliberate actions.”
Diligent implementation of the initiatives, he said, has resulted in the economy emerging from recession within a short time and beginning to grow again. He emphasised the fact that Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (the ERGP) is anchored on partnership with the private sector with the Government helping to create the enabling environment.
He inferred that this is the reason why the Government is focused on improving the country’s infrastructure and creating an environment with improvements in the ease of doing business to encourage and attract local and global investors. He disclosed that Government has also focused on social development by increasing investments in education and health, so as to improve on the quality of the country’s education and health facilities. He emphasised on the importance of having a well educated, healthy and productive nation.
According to the Minister, there is no cause for investors to worry about the next year’s general elections. He later assured the gathering that there will be no slow-down in the implementation of government programmes and policies in the period leading up to the elections, explaining that the ERGP is a medium – term economic blueprint which runs through 2020.
The Plan, he reverred was produced after extensive consultations with all the relevant sectors including the sub-national governments, private sector, academia, development partners and civil society organizations. He informed that it was endorsed by the National Assembly and the National Economic Council, among others. Adding, it is a Nigerian document accepted by all Nigerians.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed opined that significant progress has been made with the implementation of many of the policy initiatives of government, citing the stabilization of the country’s currency, consistent downward trend of inflation, increased foreign reserves, fiscal discipline in government, and commitment to creating a conducive business environment as substantiation. She continued that there has also been increased revenues, just as these developments have helped to increase investor confidence in Nigeria.
The Finance Minister revealed that government officials are under instruction from the President to stay focused on the business of governance, notwithstanding the upcoming elections.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah (Dr) in his remarks pointed out that the Nigeria Government has been working with the sub -national governments and the National Assembly to introduce measures towards improving the enabling environment for doing business. He also indicated that these efforts have been acknowledged by the World Bank which in 2017 rated Nigeria as one of the ten most reforming countries in the world.
He also spoke about the determination of the Government to develop world – class Special Economic Zones in each of the six geo-political regions of the country in partnership with the state governments and the private sector.
Okechukwu Enelamah emphasized that Ministers in the present Government are ready to serve and be easily accessible to address any problems that investors may experience.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki on his part confirmed that the State Governments have been working closely with the Federal Government through the National Economic Council to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country. “States are the laboratories where all Federal Government policies are being implemented. They are the platforms for practicalising the policies and initiatives brewed in Abuja,” he stated.
In his view, the sub – national governments are also driven by a sense of urgency to grow the economy. While espousing that his priority as a governor is to build the capacity of his people and attract investments to his state, he inferred that his state is strategically located as the gateway to both the eastern and western parts of the country, as well as the North – Central Region.
The event which was organized by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and moderated by the President / Chief Executive Officer of BCIU, Peter Tichansky was attended by more than 31 international organizations, including Chief Executive Officers and representatives from Shell Oil Company, Walmart, Motorola Solutions, Coca Cola, Boeing International, United Arab Emirates, Procter and Gamble, AAR Corporation, 3M, APR Energy, Gilead Sciences, SAAB Middle East and Africa, American Tower Corporation, Oliver Wyman Corporation, Rendeavour, IMS Engineers, Credence ID, Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic, Lafarge CIM Nigeria, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Olam Nigeria and ACIOE LLC among others.
In a related development, the Edo State Governor and the Ministers participated in the Zenith Global Economic Forum on “Nigeria Open for Business organised by foreign investors as well as some Nigerian business leaders.
Present at the forum were the Ministers of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma; Finance, Zainab Ahmed; Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele; Channels TV Chairman, John Momoh; Thisday Newspapers’ Chairman, Prince Nduka Ogbaigbena; the Chairman of Coronation Capitals, Aigboje Imuokhuede as well as the United Nations representatives in Nigeria and Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia among others.
The meeting on the closing day of the programme had Udo Udoma, Zainab Ahmed, Godwin Emefiele, Patience Oniha who is the Director of the Debt Management Office and the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Yewande Sadiku on a series of one-on-one discussions. During the conference call meetings, more than eight high rate investors explained the current happenings in the country as it affects foreign investments in Nigeria. They also assured them of policy consistency, adherence to global best practices and the safety of their investments in the country.