…Expert Blames Investors’ Apathy On Insecurity, Harsh Operating Climate
Out of the total pledge of $203.9bn made by investors between 2017 and 2020, only $7.8bn has so far been invested in the Nigerian economy, statistics released by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission has revealed.
The $7.8bn represents about 3.8 per cent of the entire $203.9bn which investors had promised to invest in the Nigerian economy.
This means that the difference between investment commitment and actual investments inflow stood at $196bn within the period under review.
The Director, Strategic Services, NIPC, Mr Abubakar Yerima, disclosed these on Tuesday in Abuja during a media parley.
Giving a breakdown of the figure, he said that in 2017, investors pledged the sum of $66.35bn out of which only $2.41bn was actually funded, thus leaving a deficit of $66.35bn.
In the 2018 fiscal period, the total investment commitments were put at $90.89bn while actual inflow was only $78m, indicating a gap of $90.11bn.
Nigeria also suffered an investment funding gap of $26.60bn in 2019 where actual investments stood at $2.31bn out of the total pledge of $29.91bn made by investors.
For 2020, Yerima explained that while investors pledged $16.74bn, only $2.39bn actual investments were recorded at the end of that year.
This resulted in an investment funding gap of $14.35bn.
Yerima appealed to all stakeholders to support the NIPC in bridging the gap, noting that the Commission cannot achieve this feat alone.
The immediate past Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said investors are scared of ploughing huge amounts in the country’s long term infrastructure projects due to the lingering social unrest and insecurity.
For the LCCI boss, the unrest is already making it difficult for foreign investors to see the country as a safe investment destination for capital infrastructure.
Yusuf said, “The social unrest that we have had in the past few months and even going beyond that, all the insecurity problems in Nigeria in the past three years have had a very negative effect on our perception as a country, especially before foreign investors.
“It is something that will make it difficult to make Nigeria an investment destination of first choice by investors, because what that does is that it aggravates investment risks.
“Because if you are going into an environment and the environment is perceived to be socially unstable, that means that the risk of investing in such an environment will be very high.
“And when you want to invest in such an environment, most times investors will be taking short-term investments. Because when an environment is unstable, you do not want to invest your fund for a long time.
“In order to minimize your exposure to those risks, invariably what we have are investors that are either trading in financial instruments or doing buying and selling, importing and selling. You know all those short short-term aspects of investments.
“That kind of investment comes more entrenched in the system as against long term investment in manufacturing, agriculture and maybe processing; in real estate and things like that which is what an economy actually needs to be able to progress and create jobs.
“So, generally, the implication of those things is the kind of perception it creates for the country and more importantly, the perception of risk and if the perception of risk is not favourable, it affects investments. It affects the capacity of the economy to generate wealth, jobs and to even reduce poverty.
“When you are talking of the transformation of an economy, investment is at the hearts of it and if the environment is not conducive for investment, then it will continue to retard the progress of such an economy.”
In a bid to improve investors’ access to the services provided by the Commission, the NIPC on Tuesday launched a digital platform for its One Stop Investment Centre
The platform, to be known as e-OSIC is expected to enhance the effectiveness of the Centre by streamlining investment entry processing.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the NIPC, Emeka Offor, disclosed this during the launch held in Abuja.
The OSIC was established in 2006 with 13 participating agencies, cutting across Federal, States and Non-governmental organizations.
He said, “It is my honour and privilege to report that e-OSIC has been completed and is now live.
“With e-OSIC, investors can now have access to all services offered at the OSIC remotely, and apply for business registration, submit relevant documents, and make appropriate fee payments.
“Through the platform, NIPC will be able to track and review the services of participating agencies at the Centre.”