By Omodele Adigun
The Chief Investment Officer of Honeywell Group (HGL), Otu Hughes, has said strategic and progressive policy formulation remained critical to increasing local and foreign direct investments to scale national economic growth.
He said this during a chat with journalists at the 28th Nigeria Economic Summit, in Abuja recently by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
According to a 2022 World Bank Report on Nigeria’s poverty assessment, as many as four in ten Nigerians live below the national poverty line.
However, the latest report of the United Nations Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) revealed that lifting 100 million Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty by 2025 is still achievable.
Hughes, who emphasized the need for dialogue between public and private enterprises, explained that it is important to cushion the volatility of the foreign exchange market to help local and foreign direct investors make sound investment decisions, he said.
“It is ideal to have some clarity on market dynamics. This will make it easier for people to plan. If businesses don’t plan, it becomes difficult to make decisions.”
The problem of low foreign direct investment is not peculiar to Nigeria. Despite its growth in foreign direct investment, investment flows to Africa accounted for only 5.2 per cent of global FDI in 2021.
Economic diversification is still a struggle in Nigeria, and the non-oil sector still plays second fiddle to the oil sector. With the lowest oil output since 1990, Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fell by $1.6 billion in June 2022, compared with a drop of $322.9 million in the previous quarter.
Highlighting the role of the private sector in ‘delivering macroeconomic stability for shared prosperity’, one of the summit’s four-pillared agenda, Hughes stressed the need for a partnership built on transparency and accountability.
He added that there is a need to have multi-stakeholder discussions on actualizing Nigeria’s economic goals. He said, “We must work together to actualise the ideas that have been discussed during the summit.
According to projections from the National Development Plan 2021-2025, much of the new investment will originate from the private sector, with a 5.1 per cent investment growth rate projected to rise to about N77 trillion by 2025, while public investment is projected to grow in real terms on average by 14.4 per cent to N15 trillion in the same period.
Through strategic investments in its portfolio businesses, Honeywell Group has steadily advanced the economic potential of Nigeria, West Africa and the wider continent globally.
Speakers at the summit included Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and Prince Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, among other high-profile speakers.