Business & Economy - News - April 13, 2021

Investment promotion: Federal, state govts must work together to halt capital flight, says NGF Chairman

To reverse the significant slide in capital importation to Nigeria since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, Federal and State governments must work together to promote investments in the country’s economy, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi has said.
Fayemi, who is also the Ekiti State governor, also said the two tiers of government must collaborate to improve subnational development finance through an innovative mix of development finance mechanisms, including the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in securing funds required for public infrastructural development.
The governor spoke on Monday in Abuja at the official unveiling of the “Book of States”, a compendium of
key investment opportunities as well as competitive and comparable advantages of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja published by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
Represented at the occasion by the Director General of the Forum, Asishana Okauru, the NGF Chairman lamented the report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country’s capital importation fell by
almost 60 percent, from $24 billion in 2019, to $10 billion in 2020.
Attributing the drop to the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting crash of commodity prices, Fayemi said the federal and state governments must see it as a challenge to reverse the slide in 2021.
“We must work together as Federal and State Governments to, in the first instance, take capital importation back to the 2019 levels, and use it as a launchpad for future growth.
“We also have to improve subnational development finance through an innovative mix of development finance mechanisms, including the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in securing funds required for public infrastructural development,” he said.
Expressing optimism over the progress the country has made so far, Fayemi said despite the challenges posed by the pandemic last year, some Nigerian-founded startups, like PayStack and Flutter Wave raised significant capital to support their regional expansion.
Again, despite the challenges, he said the Burger King franchise for Nigeria is expected to be launched this year, while in his State, a public private partnership with Promasidor is to revive the moribund lkun Dairy Fann, with a herd of over 150 cows in place.
These examples, he said, underscores the need for Nigeria
and Nigerian companies to continue to improve the business environment to attract foreign investors.
To attract international capital, the governor said the country must improve its coordination across various organs of government, by ensuring better coherence between fiscal and monetary policies, while agencies responsible for formulating and implementing such policies work together.
At the subnational level, he said special attention must be paid to Investment promotion and the Ease of Doing Business.
He commended the NIPC for the publication, noting that as an agency
established to encourage, promote and coordinate investments in the country’s economy, it would bs useful for prospective investors in making their investment decisions.
Considering that most of the investments happen in States, he said it was strategic that the publication was done in partnership between NIPC and the NGF.
While applauding the NIPC, the State Investment Promotion Agencies and NGF Secretariat for the book, Fayemi described it as “timely”, as the States begin to chart a path out of the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the NGF, Fayemi said investment promotion has already been identified as a critical driver of economic development and job creation.
“We are not only ready to implement wholesale reforms required for our respective States to improve our individual and collective environments, but also ready to set up appropriate channels to lead investment promotion activities at the subnational level.
“We will continue to provide technical assistance and peer learning opportunities to States who are still on the journey of establishing Investment Promotion Agencies and Ease of Doing Business Steering Committees.
“We call for synergy between national and subnational Investment
Promotion Agencies to successfully attract Foreign Direct Investments
(FD ls) and local investments. With the 36 States having diverse resources, comparative advantages, capacities and needs, coordination becomes critical to ensuring that the investment projects are properly suited to the different localities,” he said.
Apart from already implementing some of these reforms, the governor said the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has led the Ease of Doing Business reform project with commendable achievements.
The unveiling of the” Book of States” by the NIPC would provide both domestic and foreign investors with critical information on the comparative advantages of States, and allows for a more effective
matching of investors with states.
In addition to investment promotion, the NGF Chairman said the country must also embrace th commercialization of non-core state assets, and continue to find growth
poles that would drive an influx of capital and jobs, especially in technology, agriculture, transport, construction, power and other core sectors of the economy.
Before performing the formal unveiling of the publication, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, noted NIPC’s mandate, which he said inclided to promote investment in the country, collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information about investment opportunities.
He commemded the Commission for putting together the publication, saying it captures the competitive advantages and the key investment opportunities being showcased by each State of the country including the FCT, to help investors better appreciate the investment potentials across Nigeria.
The minister said information contained in the publication would help to attract the right investments to Nigeria and improve the country’s productivity, create jobs for our people and boost revenue generation.
The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Yewande Sadiku, who said the idea of the publication began 2017, noted that it was designed to capture the investment prospects of each of the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.
Sadiku acknowledged the support of key interest groups, particularly the NGF whose members not only sign on the idea, but also signed off each page of the final publication.
“The Book of States” is an important building block in NIPC’s effort to support our states in investment promotion,” she said.

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