From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has advised investors serious about investing in Nigeria to do so now, else have themselves to blame 10 years later when the country becomes sixth or seventh largest economy in the world.
Osinbajo gave the advise yesterday when he addressed the meeting of delegates from the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development (NEID), United States, at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, anyone who does not invest in Nigeria now, in the next 10 years will be queried by their establishments for missing out on the best possible business opportunities.
He recalled how some companies who missed investing in Nigeria’s telecoms industry when the first telecoms licenses were issued, regretted it later when in a year, all those who were granted licenses, doubled their investments, because in just five years, MTN showed the sector was incredibly profitable. MTN now has about 12 million lines.
“If you’re really serious about investing in Africa, Nigeria is where to come. If you don’t invest now, your company will query you in 10 years.
“This is a country of 180 million people and in another 10 years, 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, we have a major power deficit. So, we are going to open up that power sector and anyone who invests in the sector will definitely make money. No question. It is going to be much bigger and better than telecoms,” he said.
He reiterated the present administration’s determination to provide the investment climate that would be profitable to entrepreneurs.
“We are insisting that the only way that this country can make the profit that it needs is by private sector investment, beginning 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. But, we think it must be private sector driven.”
He told would-be investors that, “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,” pointing out that, “Nigeria is a place that is waiting to happen, and it will happen.”
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.
The minister of health in his speech said the government was also putting health forward as an area for investment since the country loses at least $1 billion from medical tourism.
He said the country was ready to partner with doctors in the diaspora to bring them in and host them for a period with an agreement that they will train their Nigerian counterparts.
Also speaking the Chairman of the NIED, James Fadel, said Nigerians in the United States were interested in untapped areas such 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.