In spite of the myriad of seemingly never-ending challenges that face Nigeria as a nation, it is pertinent to find out the investment viability of the country in the present renewed global struggle by nations for survival. Hence the question, is Nigeria an investment haven? Entrepreneurs and operators in the various sectors of the economy share their views with NOGSpeed on the issue.
According to Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Nigeria has the strongest economy in Africa and the most profitable investment destination in the world.
“Infrastructure is key, the oil sector alone has infrastructure deficit of over 30 billion dollars to get us to where we should be.
“We need to be able to supply gas sufficiently to power the entire country, and if we succeed in doing that over the next 10 year-period, we would have a very booming economy”.
On his part, the Senior Vice President, Gas Commercial, Aiteo, Mr Victor Okoronkwo believes that Nigeria will remain a choice investment environment for a very long time to come, considering the volume of gas deposit in the country, which is clearly one of the highest in the world wherein we rank number eight. According to him, “Nigeria has enough resource base to cover export to international, regional and local markets. Nigeria can grow the export market from its current level of 26 million tonnes to 40 million tonnes per annum. Likewise, our domestic gas usage can grow from the current 1.2 bcf per day to 10 bcf per day. These gaps present tremendous investment opportunities.”
In his views on whether Nigeria is still attractive to investors Mr. James Shindi of Brevity Anderson, organizers of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, said, “If you take into account Nigeria’s condensates production – the daily average production is over two million barrels – there is a very realistic capacity to upscale the country’s proven reserves to 40 billion barrels within the next few years. So, this market will continue to remain attractive for a long time. Even if there are no new oil finds, you are looking at another roughly 45 years or so of supply at current rates. However, when you start to look at the huge gas reserves of well over five trillion cubic feet, which ranks Nigeria as possessing Africa’s largest gas reserves, the picture looks even better. This surely has to be the investment destination of choice and will continue to be.”
President of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association, OGTAN, Dr. Afe Mayowa, believes that Nigeria will continue to be an investor’s haven given its mineral and human resource endowments. He said, “We have oil, which attracts a lot of international oil companies, IOCs. We also have the human and material resources.” He however complained about the unstable environment, coupled with policy inconsistency associated with governments in Nigeria. “There is no stable environment. There is inconsistency in policy implementation. Every investor will like to go to where there is policy consistency. Ghana, for example, is a stable country. Many investors go there because of that. Nigeria has the highest oil reserve in Africa. Our light crude is still the investors’ desire. Our challenges are still there. The PIB has not been passed. It is hurting investors. Nobody wants to put his money where the rules are not clear. There are 13 countries now producing oil in Africa. Nigeria needs to put its acts together,” he said.
A similar sentiment was expressed by a former President of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, Mr. Abiodun Adesanya, who when asked if Nigeria was a choice destination for investors, said: “Yes, of course.”
For the Chief Executive Officer of AIGTC Limited, an Agro-commodities exporting company and the Project Coordinator of Eko Business Dinner, EBD, though it is not rosy at the moment, Nigeria still attracts investors. “Though things got so bad at some point in our history, Nigeria however, remains a haven for investment because of our vast human and natural resources. We can only continue to tell investors of the positive parts of our country, especially our export potentials amongst others and make efforts to reduce or share in their risk when they invest in Nigeria. This is what the EBD is doing; bringing Nigerians to share in the risk of investors who bring their investments to Nigeria,” he said.
The above assertions appear to lend credence to the views expressed by the former Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Mr. Jeff Immelt who said that doing business in Nigeria is a “good risk” as GE has the potential of making a profitable success from its $10 billion investments in the country.
Confirming the observations of the private sector, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, described Nigeria as an investment haven for prospective investors. The Minister, who stated this in Abuja at a business roundtable with the Minister of Transportation and Communication of Finland, Mrs. Anne Berner, said, “there is a limitless opportunity in the information and communication technology, ICT sector, E-commerce, E-education, E-health, and other areas. ICT is like fresh air, every living being must rely on it, and without it life is unproductive.” The Minister explained that ICT contributed more than 10 percent Nigeria’s gross domestic product, GDP in 2016, predicting that with the rate ICT was gaining ground in Nigeria, it could contribute about 15 percent to the GDP in the next five years.
“Nigeria has a thick population that translates to a very huge market and we are leaders in West Africa and Africa as a whole. However, in technology we are relying on countries which see us as partners,” he added. Also speaking, the Minister of Transportation and Communication of Finland, Mrs. Anne Berner, said Finland was ready to partner with Nigeria to build cyber-security, create new ICT services, and invest in infrastructure development that would bring changes. She affirmed the aim of her visit was to discuss areas of synergy in ICT potentials between Finland and Nigeria. According to her, the partnership would bring the two countries together in terms of trade and investment, which would create employment, as well as improve the economy. She indicated strong interest in optic fiber, 5-G Initiative, and ship-building. ICT is playing an increasing role in the oil and gas business in Nigeria.