The British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Laure Beaufils, says predictability in decision making, application of regulations and systematic application of the rule of law, is crucial to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
Beaufils said in Lagos at an International Investment Conference organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
She spoke during a panel discussion themed: “Attracting FDIs to Nigeria: Potentials and Challenges.’’
She said that investors were watching keenly activities ongoing in the socio-economic and political landscape of the country, to forge decisions on investments.
Beaufils noted that the MTN issues undermined government’s efforts and affected investors’ confidence on whether Nigeria was a suitable place for investment.
“I can tell you that the MTN issue was damaging for the economy; there is a lot that is going on right now to address the issue, we are aware of that, but investors most times do not go beyond the headlines.
“What we advise today is that such rash decisions should be avoided in the interest of further investment which are absolutely essential to the economic development of the country, job creation and the vision that we have of an incredibly vibrant and rich Nigeria,” she said.
Beaufils said that the UK government was interested in Africa, particularly Nigeria, and had committed 3.5 million Euros to the development of the continent over the next four years, adding that much of the money would be channeled to Nigeria.
Also, Mr John Bray, US Consul-General, said that 1.3 billion dollars investment from US flowed into six sectors of the Nigerian economy in 2017.
He urged the government to improve on its competitiveness, adding that Nigeria was not competing with only African countries but global business.
Earlier, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that the economy was in dire need of private investment to create jobs, diversify the economy, boost government revenue and improve citizens welfare.
He noted that the quality of the investment environment was crucial, adding that the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report showed a marginal drop in ranking from 145 to 146.
“This underscores the news for more attention to be focused on business environment issues,” he said.
Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said that investment promotion actively seeks to avail potential local and foreign investors with investment opportunities.
She said that the opportunities would facilitate inflow of capital, skills and technology, create jobs, promotes exports, hence increasing productivity, innovation and wages in the country.
“Without any equivocation, Lagos State is the commercial, industrial, and financial hub of Nigeria and indeed the economic gateway of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“With a population of 24.8 million and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $136 billion (USD), nearly a third of Nigeria’s GDP; Lagos is the 5th largest economy in Africa.
“These indices portend a large market for any product or service that is launched in the state,” she said.
Oladunjoye said that the state was well-positioned to harness its strengths and potentials, and aims to connect businesses by encouraging investors to leverage on the extensive public-private partnership models.
She said that the models would help them to identify synergies that add value both individually and corporately, in a way that is both profitable and responsible.