The Managing Director, Footprints for Africa, Mr Osita Oparaugo, said the poor perception of foreign investors about the Nigerian business climate was the major reason for huge decline in investment inflows into the country.
Oparaugo, whose firm is currently into partnership with five African countries including Nigeria on investment drive, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja. He explained that while there were huge investment opportunities in the country, the harsh operating environment was limiting the interests of investors in key sectors of the economy.
According to National Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian economy has recorded its worst investment inflow in 10 years, with the country attracting a total investment of 5.12 billion dollars in the 2016 fiscal period. The figure, when compared to the 9.64 billion which the economy attracted in 2015, represented a huge decline of 4.52 billion dollars or 46.86 per cent. Oparaugo urged the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to quickly commence the process of identifying and reducing the bureaucratic processes and regulations impeding the private sector. PEBEC was set up by the Federal Government in October 2016 to improve Nigeria’s ranking in the ease of doing business index and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Oparaugo said as part of efforts to correct the poor perception of foreign investors, a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the company and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission. The MoU, according to him, will enable the company to showcase the huge investments opportunities in the non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy. “We are committed to helping intra-African and foreign investors find the right partners and opportunities, firm joint ventures or partnerships and to establish presence through Private Public Partnership." “There are numerous investment opportunities in Nigeria but a lot of investors, particularly the foreign investors, are not taking this advantage owing to the fact that they have a poor perception of the investment climate."
“This is understandable when you consider the fact that the operating environment is not friendly and the lack of continuity in some programmes of government,” he said. Commenting on the successes so far recorded in the last one year, he said the company assisted six African countries, including Nigeria, to attract about 1.5 billion dollars investments in three sectors of the economy. The sectors are oil and gas where he said attracted the huge chunk of investment inflow of about 700 million dollars, while the rest to agriculture and tourism. He said Nigeria’s ratification of trade facilitation agreement will stimulate exports particularly in the non-oil sector.