‘We need to look inwards to produce exportable goods, services’
Nigeria at 56 is going through a period of temporary economic decline identified by the continuous fall of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for at least two successive quarters. To get out of the recession we are in, we need to improve on our GDP.
We need to look inwards as a country to produce and provide exportable products and services. As an emerging economy, the potentials and opportunities for growth and infrastructure development is enormous. Nigeria is like a Greenfield or a plain sheet of paper in which we can create our own success stories. However, these success stories can mostly be created with the much needed and talked about Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) especially now that we have also been hit by the drop in the price of crude oil resulting to depleted foreign reserves.
Nigeria needs to become the beautiful bride once again, the toast of investors all over the world not just to put us in chains and shackles like before, or own our National assets of pride without recourse to our heritage and history but to invest in sectors that will raise our GDP, develop skills and transfer knowledge.
We talk a lot about the scarcity of the US dollars and the devaluation of the Nigeria naira which in my opinion as a novice economist is directly related but to improve the value of the naira, we need to ensure the supply of the US dollar exceeds or equals to the demand. To ensure the supply of the US dollars, we need to export more, which will mean we produce more locally and enough to export and also ensure the FDIs come in.
The question is how do we ensure these FDIs come in? The average Nigerian girl today, seeking a husband or even a boyfriend would have to position herself properly. Taking her time to make her hair, take care of her skin, and appear attractive to be noticed as single and searching and then be at her best behaviour to ensure the suitor stays longer than just saying hello and hopes to have a marital relationship with her. Nigeria needs to begin to look attractive once again; we need to put incentives in place for these investor or suitors to consider Nigeria as a good place to invest. If you are not open for business, investor cannot come in.
I would have expected that the not so new Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade and Investment and the CBN Governor but talking to investors all over the globe. Organising and attending investment road shows, speaking to investors and positioning Nigeria as a fertile ground for investment adding sweeteners and revealing the juicy Return on Investment investors will reap if they invest in Nigeria. Surely, a secure and corrupt free economy is essential for investment but a profitable economy would be a better sell.What stories are the existing investors telling about their investments in Nigeria? A bad experience with a product will lead to bad reviews and eventually drop in sales. The exit of multinationals from Nigeria most especially due to the inability to expatriate US dollars to its home country is a bad review. We need to keep foreign investors happy enough to springboard the relationship into long-term marital bliss.
• Austine Fischer is the General Manager, Communication & Sustainability, APM Terminals.