MAKINWA: There Is More To Be Done
Mr. Bunmi Makinwa is former Regional Director (Africa) of the United National Population Fund (UNFPA). Assessing the impact of 100 days in office of President Buhari-led administration in the international system, he told KAMAL TAYO OROPO that so far, the administration has taken good steps in the right direction, but it is still too early to conclude whether enough has been done to create solid environment for foreign investment.
How would you rate the performance of Buhari among the international community? THE international community is an omnibus. It means, sometimes, a lot, and at times, nothing. The perception of the new administration from what I hear and see in countries I have visited lately is that Nigeria has in place a government that can give the country correct and desired leadership.
There is expectation that Nigeria can and should improve. On what is being done to reduce corruption and enforce probity, there is a lot of support.
Let us not forget too quickly that corruption became synonymous with Nigeria; and this has proven so unfortunate. So far, the steps being taken by the Buhari administration is spot on. And more should be done to make for a well thought-out and coherent anti corruption policy.
On the issue of Boko Haram, the international community does not expect less. The world sees Boko Haram as yet another strong arm of the horrible terrorism that is springing up in many forms and places.
Yet, this is only the beginning. The Buhari administration has a lot more to do. In fact, until Nigeria becomes a strong, well governed and socio economically strong nation, it cannot earn the respect of the international community.
How beneficial would you say Buhari’s diplomatic shuttles have been to Nigeria? His visits to the few places, including the United States, Germany for leaders summit, African Union summit and to neighbouring countries, were proper and needed.
Nigeria is not an island and it operates within a broader international arena. These visits fit into goals that Nigeria sets for itself. Ultimately, benefit of favourable international perception of Nigeria would be denominated in the volume of foreign investments the government attracted.
How confident are you that the present local environment would achieve this desire? It is too early to conclude on this prospect of whether the Buhari’s administration can create the environment for foreign investment or not.
The Buhari administration has a lot more to do. In fact, until Nigeria becomes a strong, well governed and socio economically strong nation, it cannot earn the respect of the international community.
One can only speculate and even at that, it is uncalled for within 100 days of a new administration. However, there is a lot of potential in the Nigerian environment that attracts foreign investors.
What are these potentials? The potentials include Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa, huge population of about 200 million, growing middle class, gigantic consumption pattern and massively unexploited natural resources of various types.
In the past 100 days, are there sufficient conditions in the country to encourage Nigerians abroad, who may love to relocate/or invest in the country, to do so? So far, the conditions are promising.
Steps taken to date are correct and in line with the campaign promises of APC. I personally do not subscribe to the view that by not having a cabinet in place there is something wrong.
It is more important to get results than to act merely as others do, as long as the change manner of play does not break the law. But don’t you think not appointing ministers after 100 days may send wrong signals to the international community? No. Not all. The real issue is what results the government have? How well is the country governed? What improvement do we see? As long as the President acts within the laws of the country, we are alright.