From Uche Usim, Abuja
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described Nigeria as an investment haven, urging the nation’s monetary and regulatory authorities to roll out policies that would reduce inflation rate and increase access to domestic funds to ensure the economy attains further growth in 2018.
The Senior Financial Sector Expert, Debt and Capital Market Instruments Division, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, IMF, Miriam Tamene, made the assertion yesterday, during a visit of Fund’s team to The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Abuja.
According to her, the IMF, at the last meeting in the United States, was pleasantly surprised to receive a large number of eager investors itching to invest in Nigeria. She however stated that many of them still nursed the fear that their funds would be trapped in Nigeria and that they may not be able to retrieve it whenever they decide to exit.
“At the annual meetings of IMF, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw many investors interested in Nigeria’s securities market. A lot of people believe Nigeria is still investors destination of choice, but the main concerns most of them had was the fear that they might not be able to take out their money anytime they want, hence they are being very watchful,” she said.
“Investors are interested in Nigeria, but with difficulties they had in getting their money out recently, that confidence is not there yet. It has improved though, but they are still watching. It is still so much fragile and not what they can take for granted just yet,” she added.
In his remarks, the Acting Director General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Zubair, said the future outlook appeared good as several initiatives had already been rolled out by the SEC which will help to grow the capital market and increase investor confidence, adding that in the long term, more initiatives will be rolled out to ensure that Nigerian capital market remains one of the best performing in the world.
The IMF team was in Nigeria for consultations to get update on developments covering all the financial and other key sectors of the economy. The report of their consultations is expected to be presented to the IMF Board in February 2018.