Despite current challenges, Nigerian brand remains strong, says NIPC
Executive Secretary, NIPC, Mrs. Uju Aisha Hassan-Baba made this disclosure while speaking at the business summit organised by Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (FNCCI) saying that despite overwhelming negative sentiments, the intrinsic value of the Nigerian brand still offers a lot of optimism and promise for profitable investments in the economy.
Hassaan-Baba who was represented by Director, Infrastructure and Services, NIPC, Isaac Adesola Idowu said: “With the economy being the largest in Africa, and consistently among the top three investment destinations in the continent, Nigeria has been confirmed as one of the most-watched frontier market by American and European companies, as indicated in the latest Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Frontiers/FSG Frontiers/FSG Frontier Frontier Market Sentiment Sentiment Index (2014 & 2015).
“Nigeria is one of the most attractive and promising emerging markets globally, mainly because of its abundant resources, strong financial system, competitive industries policy environment which is in support of private entrepreneurship, trainable, resourceful and cost effective workforce with 60 per cent as youth among others”.
She highlighted challenges bedevilling the investment to include, huge infrastructure deficit, inadequate fund to finance long -term investments, policy inconsistency, overdependence on oil revenue, bureaucratic bottlenecks, inadequate human capital, high rate of unemployment, overdependence on imports and security concerns.
While recognising the challenges, she said government is making efforts to improve Nigeria’s investment climate. Some of the efforts include institutional, public service and electoral reforms; constitutional amendment; rule of law; and good governance with freedom of information Act.
Other areas of focus being pursued by the government are the fight against financial and economic crimes, setting up of security and investment tribunal to handle securities and exchange cases; re-positioning of NIPC to provide effective remedies to investors’ concerns through establishment of One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC); an investment facilitation strategy where relevant government agencies are brought to one location coordinated and streamlined to provide prompt, efficient and transparent services to investors; inauguration of two committees to address high cost of doing business and the poor rating of the investment climate by rating agencies.
In his speech, Consul General of France, Laurent Polonceaux said the visit of President Buhari to France gave a strong sign of reinforced relationship between both countries on defence, economic and financial subjects.
However he pointed out that, the new administration is confronted with complex economic realities as the global fall in oil price is hampering Nigerian economy.
However, he stressed that in order to maintain Nigeria as the first economy in Africa and also to improve the standards of living of its whole population, Nigeria needs to further diversify its economy and concentrate efforts on essential sectors such as the rehabilitation of major infrastructure, the agro-allied industry and the support of SMEs.