By Tanko Mohammed
Ms Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is worried over the predicted decline in investment in 2020-2021.
Sadiku, at a news conference it organised via webinar on in Abuja, said the country required coherent policy changes and deep economic reforms to reverse the prediction.
The United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that in 2020-2021 there will be a 30 to 40 per cent decline in global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows from their 2019 value of 1.54 trillion dollars.
According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR), COVID-19 pandemic caused steep drop in investment flows, hitting developing countries hardest, recovery is not expected before 2022.
Sadiku expressed worry that due to the kind of levels being registered by the pandemic, the global update estimate on decline in FDI flows could be even less.
“We believe that bold and coherent policy changes and deep economic reforms would be required to reverse the decline in the investment that we foresee in 2020-2021 and immediate years,’’ Sadiku said.
In terms of government policies, she said that in the past government policies had driven FDI flows in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria attracted the highest levels of FDI because of material document policies that encouraged such.
“Everything from the sales of oil assets to indigenous companies, banking reforms and sale telecom licenses will be affected.
“We believe that the successor to the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) that is currently in the process will clearly articulate the policy direction that government requires to take,’’ she said.
The NIPC boss emphasised the need for aggressive investment promotion by Nigeria because the competition for capital has stepped up across the world.
According to her, the best way to proactively position Nigeria is to ensure selling Nigeria on a sector base specific investment opportunities and proactive investment promotion, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that the impact of the pandemic from an economic and investment perspective was actually much, adding that while this presented challenges for most, there were equally interesting opportunities in various corners.
She said that many Nigerian companies took advantages of the opportunities presented by the pandemic.
Sadiku lauded the government entities for providing succour where they could to investment community.
“We expect in reaction to the pandemic that there will be some polity and safety and the economies that will win will be those that will continue to provide attractive prospects for investors in a conducive business environment.
“We believe that most FDIs now will be looking for not just financial returns but some tangible impacts that there will be a greater focus on the developmental goals of SDGs and in that regards, we think that Nigeria presents a prime opportunity for any investor.
“The world has seen that a global concentration of production capacity in one country or region demonstrate risks that will be avoided in the future. So we believe in geographical diversification of production capacity or value chains.,’’ she said.
Sadiku also acknowledged attractiveness of certain sectors, namely renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and digital technologies; e-commerce, fintech, telemedicine and virtual schooling.
The executive secretary noted that many countries were also focussed inwardly on getting domestic investors to invest more domestically instead of going outside.
In this regard, she said the prospect for domestic investment and domestic capital aggregation remained very high, therefore, more Nigerians should be encouraged to invest.
Mr Emmanuel Adeshina, NIPC Director for Investment Promotion, also highlighted some proactive investment programmes of the commission.
Adeshina said the department’s function was solely on direct marketing of sector-based investment opportunities in Nigeria to potential investors both Nigerians and non-Nigerians.
He listed its key tasks as sector profiling, matchmaking, investor tracking and investment opportunity profiling in line with its mandate to collate, analyse and disseminate information for information opportunities.