Nigeria’s rebranding strategy to sustain investors’ confidence

By Aliyu Othman

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Nigeria is adopting various measures to restore the confidence of the international community with the speedy implementation of the eight-point agenda of the new leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Nigerian President adopted an eight-point strategic plan anchored on the Renewed Hope mantra that is aimed at reforming the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth, strengthen security for peace and prosperity, boost agriculture towards food security, unlock energy and natural resources potentials as well as enhance infrastructure and transportation for growth.

President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda also emphasizes education, health and social investment as critical pillars of development, acceleration of diversification of the economy, digitization, creative arts, manufacturing and innovation towards guaranteeing improved governance for effective service delivery to Nigerians.

The desire for Nigeria to regain its place in the comity of nations moved President Tinubu to undertake diplomatic shuttles to major gatherings of world leaders, especially the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York and the 18th G20 summit in India, where key partnerships and investments opportunities were entered into with major investors in critical areas like agriculture, transportation, oil and gas, solid minerals, infrastructure and ICT.

These bilateral agreements witnessed follow-up visits to Nigeria by the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz as well as delegations from the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France and others at the diplomatic level.

However, the recent United States government’s travel advisory that sought to deter tourists from visiting and enjoying Nigeria’s hospitality industry was generalized.

In his reaction, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mallam Mohammed Idris called on the US government not to generalize isolated incidents of possible attack on the hospitality industry.

The hospitality industry in Nigeria is one of the most viable sectors that when fully harnessed, could be another investor’s delight and for tourists. He urged the US government not to do anything that will affect its growth potential.

The US advisories in most cases do not achieve much, other than raising panic with severe adverse economic effects, thereby undermining the Nigerian government’s efforts to attract foreign direct investments in such sectors.

The Minister assured the US government and other diplomatic missions that the government prioritized the safety and well-being of all visitors to the country.

He explained that comprehensive security measures are being implemented at the federal and state levels to ensure the safety of tourists, international guests and citizens.

The measures include, but are not limited to intense intelligence gathering, acquisition and deployment of additional platforms, training and re-training of security personnel, and cooperation with international law enforcement agencies to maintain a secure and peaceful environment for tourists and investors in Nigeria.

The economy witnessed a push with the signing of five Executive Orders by President Tinubu towards improving Nigeria’s business and fiscal environment, and increased foreign exchange supply to meet international obligations.

Measures embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clear a backlog of billions of dollars in foreign exchange witnessed an immediate impact on the exchange rates and the Nigerian stock market, a positive development that is expected to continue up to 2024 and beyond.

Under the Nigerian government’s priority objectives and implementation strategy, the Central Bank will focus on its core mandates of price and policy stability and financial system.

The establishment of a Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee has helped in fast-tracking reforms in the tax system and will reduce the tax burden on investors when fully implemented, thereby uplifting businesses to create jobs and straightening the revenue projections of government.

The establishment of an Infrastructure Support Fund for States to invest in critical areas will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive as well as support the states to meet genuine obligations.

The recent launch of a 100 Billion Naira Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus programme that will deliver CNG-powered buses and other youth development and student loan schemes which will take off in 2024 has helped in winning the confidence of Nigerians. They are expected to cushion the unintended pains of some economic measures introduced recently by the government and ensure that Nigerian youths are not only gainfully employed but also become employers of labour.

Equally noteworthy is the Tinubu administration’s initiative on National Talent Export Programme (NATEP) which seeks to create one million service-export jobs over the next five years, and make Nigeria a global business outsourcing hub.

These initiatives targeted at the youth will not only provide jobs for them but will also drastically reduce the rate of crime and criminality and guarantee peace and security in the country where investors, foreign and local are assured of remarkable returns to their investments.