For Nigeria to attract increased flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), deliberate multi-agency efforts have been identified as a necessity that will bring about the needed reforms and development required by the Nation.
Besides, on the economic side, more transparency is required with managing the exchange rate; as allegations of favoritism has continued to disrupt the allocation of Foreign Exchange in the autonomous interbank market, which needs to be addressed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
These were the submission of stakeholders at the breakfast meeting organized by Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), in Lagos, on Wednesday. They opined that despite the challenges bedeviling the country, Nigeria can still serve as a potential hub for businesses to thrive, if basic infrastructure are put in place, adding that efforts must start with bringing credibility into both Fiscal and Monetary Policies by the Government.
The Managing Director, Citibank Nigeria, Akin Dawodu, said Nigeria is an evolving market that needs more private sector involvement to achieve its desired economic stand, as FDI is a catalyst for development in any Nation.
According to him, Nigeria has a huge infrastructure deficit, which manifest in the day to day activities, showing that the Nation lacked the necessary funds to fix its problems.
In his presentation, a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, argued that since Nigeria is not the most productive economy in Africa, Government must stabilize the currency and make investment attractive for local investors through a single-digit interest rate in order to attract investment into the country.
Duke, who doubled as the guest speaker, also said there is a need for Nigeria to grow the economy by 15 per cent annually for the next 10 years, especially the non-oil sector to achieve the desired transformation required by the present administration.
He identified energy as a major comparative advantage, saying, if utilized properly will aid the growth of Nigerian industries.
He said: “Let gas be subsidized to our industries instead of flaring it. If gas is channeled to industries across the Federation, it will help increase production and maximize capacity.”
He therefore charged NACC to intensify efforts to recalibrate the exchange rate to allow for more Nigerian exports to other countries.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Footprint to Africa, Osita Oparaugo, said the earlier Nigeria understood the way foreign investors think about the economy, the better improvement there will be.
Oparaugo said Government needs to develop more infrastructure and put right policies in place that will make investors stay in the country. Earlier in his remarks, President NACC, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, noted that FDI comprises not only mergers and acquisition, and new investment, but also reinvested earnings, loans and similar capital transfers between parent companies and their affiliates.
He added that FDI remains the most important element in the economic development programme of Nigeria, which is believed to be a high-risk market for investment even as it is blessed with enormous mineral and human resources.
He highlighted the potential benefits of FDI to include employment generation and growth; integration into the global economy; raising skills of local manpower; supplementing domestic savings; transfer of modern technologies and enhanced efficiency.
He said the chamber will continue to promote the development of trade, commerce, investment and industrial technological relationships between the public and private sectors in Nigeria and the United States of America.