The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has assured that the goal of the Buhari administration is to make Nigeria a major global investment destination.
He said this on Saturday while addressing the Christ The Redeemers Fellowship International (CRFI) UAE Dubai Professional Business Summit tagged “Exploring Investment Opportunities in Nigeria and the UAE.”
Osinbajo added that the administration would continually improve and reform the country’s business environment to make it attractive to foreign investors.
He stressed that “our overarching goal is to make Nigeria a major global investment destination by continually improving our business environment.
“The improvements are not merely in numerical rankings, but in the stories and testimonies of business owners and entrepreneurs across the country.”
According to him, government is devoted to that particular pathway and it is a process which involves doing things differently, changing existing ways of doing things.
He noted that the process had been slow but it had grown quickly, especially in the past one and half years. Osinbajo said “we expect that incremental changes will make a huge difference in the entire business environment as we go forward.”
He highlighted various reforms carried out in the infrastructure, business environment and economic diversification as demonstration of the administration’s commitment to promote foreign investments.
The vice president said that one of the most important economic policy decisions taken by President Muhammadu Buhari was to do all that was possible to improve Nigeria’s business environment and to attract investors on incremental basis.
He stated that “it became critical, especially as we urgently needed to reform our economy to focus on agriculture, manufacturing, services and other non-oil economic activity.
“This is the moment to explore the investment potential in the country, having lost such opportunity about a decade ago.” He stated that with the International Monetary Fund’s recent upgrade of the economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria’s exit from recession to positive growth, the trajectory was expected to play in that regional outlook, as the prospects were bright.
He said that the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 was conceptualised to place the economy on the path to stronger, more sustainable and inclusive growth.
“In Q1 2018, the economy grew 1.95 per cent and is projected to grow by up to three per cent over this year, driven by stronger oil prices, stable production, increased non-oil output and foreign exchange availability.
“Inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 11.60 per cent in May 2018.
“Foreign investment, new investment, rose from 908.2 million dollars in Q1 2017 to 4.1 billion dollars in Q3 2017 over 150 per cent growth from Q1 2017. “Total fresh capital inflow in 2017 was 12,228 dollars, 24 billion growth of 138.6 per cent in 2017.
“With no restrictions on ownership and guaranteed 100 per cent repatriation of invested funds, a stable foreign exchange market, combined with rising income levels, Nigeria’s external reserves rose to a four-year high of 47.8 billion dollars on May 14, 2018.
“Our fundamentals are looking good and the ERGP is being implemented to keep the economy on the path of sustainable economic growth and global competitiveness,’’ he noted.
Osinbajo hinted that major global players such as China had earmarked over 60 billion dollars worth of investments for Africa in 2018, a sizable portion of which would be directed at Nigeria.
He said opportunities existed in the technology, creative industry, hospitality, aviation, agriculture and almost all aspects of the economy and called on foreign business men to regard the country as an investment destination.
“I think it is worth repeating that the case for investing in Nigeria is a compelling one,’’ Osinbajo remarked.