Is Nigeria an investment haven? Entrepreneurs and operators in the various sectors of the economy appear to have diverse views on the issue.
President of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association, OGTAN, Mr. 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 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 profitable success from its $10 billion investments in the country.
Confirming the observations of the private sector, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has 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 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 per cent Nigeria’s gross domestic product, GDP in 2016, predicting that with the rate ICT was gaining ground in Nigeria, it could contribute about 15 per cent 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.
Mr. Afe Mayowa, President, OGTAN
Mrs. Anne Berner, Minister for Transport & Communications, Finland
Mr. Jeff Immelt, GE CEO
Timeline – the beginning
OLOIBIRI-1: From where began a trillion naira business that has seen Nigeria earn several billions of dollars from exports of hydrocarbons. This is the first commercial oil well in Nigeria at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State. Today, oil is prospected for all through the Niger Delta region.