Magnus Eze, Enugu
Five sectors have been identified as having the greatest ease of entry and potential for job creation in addition to delivering cross-sectoral synergies that can lead to rapid improvements in the socio-economic environment of the South East.
Group Managing Director (GMD) of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, listed the sectors as hospitality and tourism, agriculture, Information Communication Technology, media and entertainment as well as heritage, language and culture.
In a keynote paper on the topic, “Anyi aga-ato n’ nmeghie: Envisioning new paradigm for investment N’Alaigbo,” at the 2019 Business Banquet of Igbo Community Association of Nigeria (ICAN) held in Dallas, Texas, USA, he noted that all the identified sectors will benefit massively from any increase in the availability of power and connecting infrastructure.
The Igbo language part of the title is taken from the Bible – Romans 6:1 which translates as, “For how long shall we continue in sin?”
The presentation chronicled how the political economy of Nigeria has resulted in 10 deadly sins (“Mmehies”) which are being visited upon the population every day. These sins have combined to make the country one of the least hospitable places in the world to live and work. Despite a GDP of $419.0bn and a population of nearly 200m people, Nigeria continues to perform far below her full potentials.
The investment expert listed the nation’s 10 deadly ‘sins’ as spending billions of dollars annually to subsidise inflated fuel consumption; failure to deregulate the oil and gas sector for decades which has blocked billions of dollars of further investments in the critical sector of the economy; endemic corruption across all levels of government; and flagrant abuse of the rule of law and in some cases outright embrace of impunity by political appointees or executive office holders.
Others include: inability to fully deregulate the power sector and unlock investment opportunities to make more electricity available for the population;
suboptimal investment in education resulting in over 9 million of out of school children – the highest number in the world; weak or unavailable public primary healthcare facilities resulting in thousands of preventable deaths daily; and largest incidence of poverty in the world with 91.5 million Nigerians living in abject poverty;
He also added failure to tackle the wide scale insecurity across all six geopolitical zones of the country; and massive social injustice that cuts across all strata of the society – regional, state, local governments and even at the individual level.
For the Southeast, he identified political immaturity and corruption; nepotism; failure to seek professional advice when embarking on major projects; weak rankings in Ease of Doing Business; and massive brain drain – the resultant effect of the above four sins; as ‘sins’ militating against investment in the region.
The presentation analysed the nature of diaspora remittances into the Nigerian economy which reached a record $25.0bn in 2018, stating that the amount was greater than the total value of Nigeria’s oil receipts of $18.0bn in 2018.
He estimated that diaspora Nigerians originally from the Southeast region could account for between 30-40 per cent of total diaspora remittances.
Regardless of the national and regional factors militating against investments in the Southeast, his presentation stated that funding either from public sources, private sources or diaspora remittances was clearly not lacking in the region. He said that what seemed to be lacking is trust.