Ag President urges investors to establish businesses in Nigeria

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says Nigeria is opening up itself for free enterprise and urged investors to leverage on the opportunities being created in the country to establish their businesses in Nigeria.

Osinbajo stated this on Monday when he addressed the meeting of delegates from the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development, NEID, United States, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The truth of the matter is that any country that opens itself to free enterprise, the way Nigeria is opening itself to free enterprise, will somehow find that it will work, and that is one of the critical things that we are bringing into the mix,” he said, pointing out that, “Nigeria is a place that is waiting to happen—and it will happen.”

Profitable climate

The Acting President said the Nigerian government was working to ensure that the investment climate is profitable to entrepreneurs.

“We are insisting that the only way that this country can make the profit that it needs to make is by private sector investment, beginning with local with local investment.  That’s why we are working so hard on making the investment climate profitable and easy for those who are doing business already, because we believe that those who are doing business already will invariably bring in those who want to do business from outside, foreign investment etcetra.  But we think that it must be private sector driven,” he said.

He said there were huge private sector investments in Nigeria that belie the country’s  N7trillion budget for this year, indicating the prominent role the private sector could play in driving economic growth.

He said:  “For example, the largest single line refinery in the world is a private sector investment and it’s going to be doing 650,000 barrels of oil every day. That refinery is purely private sector driven.  Also, the largest single line fertilizer plant in the world is being set up here.  All of these will be ready by the end of 2018, some 2019”

Professor Osinbajo stated that areas where the private sector could invest and make profit in Nigeria included agriculture and power where there exist potentials that need to be harnessed.

According to him, government was trying to infuse a payment assurance guarantee over N701 billion into the power value chain to free it up.

He said with this and efforts being made to address the issue of tarrif the power sector would be opened up to give access to big investors to come in.

He said:  “This is a country of 180 million people and in another 10 years time we are probably going to be the sixth or seventh largest country in the world.  There is no way we are not going to need power, whether it is off-grid power or on-grid power.  Power is required by everyone where we have a major power deficit.  So, we are going to open up that power sector and anyone who invests in power sector will definitely make money.  No question.  It is going to be much bigger and better than telecom.”

Making a presentation at the meeting, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said government was committed to building confidence for investments in critical areas as agriculture,  education, oil and gas, health, infrastructure, mining, manufacturing, real estate and construction.

He said the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, earlier this year was aimed at fostering sustainable and accelerated development and restoring economic stability and growth to the country.

He said the implementation of the plan and other policies of government would facilitate investments in Nigeria.

Others who made presentations at the meeting, explaining what Nigeria was doing to create conducive business climate and investment opportunities in the country, were the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe; Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo and the Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, Jumoke Oduwole.

Also speaking the Chairman of the NIED, James Fadel, said Nigerians in the United States were interested in such untapped areas as logistics, housing and security.

He said that they could invest up to two billion dollars in such sectors, adding that they were happy that the government in Nigeria was ready to work with them.

Nnenna.O