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Why Nigeria is unable to attract investments, by stakeholders

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Managing Director, Mines Nigeria. Adia Sowho, (left); Managing Director, Sun Trust Bank Limited, Ayo Babatunde; Moderator, Adedoyin Jaiyesinmi; Chief Executive,Dunn Loren Merrifield, Sonnie Ayere, and Deputy Group Managing Director, Coscharis Group, Okey Nwuke at the Doing Business Series panel as part of the weeklong 40th anniversary celebration of Tokunbo Orimobi in Lagos


Poor access to information, knowledge of the operating environment as well as prevailing rules have been cited as part of the reasons why the country has been unable to attract needed investments.

According to the Global chairman, Tokunbo Orimobi LP, Michael Orimobi, acknowledging the problem led to the resolution to start a business summit where investors, entrepreneurs come together and discuss doing business in Nigeria. Orimobi said stakeholders plan to align with federal fiscal authority and provide more pro-bono services to the government.

This gave birth to the Doing Business series with the theme, Business and Investment Opportunities in Nigeria, which held this week in Lagos, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and the media.

“We would work together on some of the bills that would be passed, hold more events to showcase the country to the world, bring investors together and show why they need to choose Nigeria. We also intend to teach SMEs how to do business properly, access funding, and get investors, all pro-bono. There are ideas but investors would not put money behind ideas but a business so we want to transform ideas into businesses so they can access capital.

“We can only have a small number of Dangotes or Otedolas but we have millions of young people with fantastic ideas and this is where we want to come in. We hope with this, the economy would be better for it; we hope to contribute to the nation’s GDP in our own way even though we won’t make money from it. Businesses need to be ready to take the short-term pain for the long-term gain,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Jumoke Oduwole who was the keynote speaker assured that the country would be ranked less than a hundred on the list of ease of doing business by October of this year. Fielding a panel that spoke on the impact of elections on the economy and investment, the financial experts projected stability in the economy pre-election, while expecting a slowdown post-election.

Deputy Group Managing Director at Coscharis Group, Okey Nwuke said though there are a myriad of problems, there are also lots of opportunities as well. “If you are a long term investor, this is the best time to buy. The economy would slow down a bit after the election but towards the end of the second quarter, things would pick up again. Looking for FDI when local investors are not investing is a waste of time and resources and I would advise we look inwards for solutions”, he added.

Chief executive officer, Dunn Loren Merrifield, Sonnie Ayere added that there were lots of uncertainties this period, scaring away investment. “There are job losses everywhere, uncertainty about the elections and despite efforts government says it is making, reforms are yet to trickle down to the average Nigerian, so it is difficult to feel the impact of said reforms. Citizens grow the economy and not foreign investors. We must put measures in place to drive the economy because no foreign investor would invest into an economy that’s not thriving.

Managing Director, Sun Trust Bank Limited, Ayo Babatunde said, “In terms of what will happen in the Nigerian economy in 2019, we have a long term this season. This is a good time to buy Nigerian stocks. So, we have to take cognizance of the fact that between now and maybe the middle of the year, the country will flat-line mostly because of uncertainties and also because of two things.

“One is, you are looking at what would happen if the PDP wins and if there will be a change in policy and so on and so forth? The other is if the APC wins, which means business as usual. So investors are weighing those two options and because of that most people will say ‘I will just hold on until I know the options of the economy.”


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