The nation attracted $6.85bn worth of investments in the first nine months of 2017; while some state governments took advantage of portfolio investors’ appetite for the Nigerian market, others allowed the opportunity to slip, IFEANYI ONUBA writes
Between January and September last year, about 28 state governors could not attract any form of investments to their states, an analysis of the Capital Importation Report for the period has revealed.
The report, prepared by the National Bureau of Statistics, contains the total amount of fresh investments attracted to the Nigerian economy during a particular period of time.
The states that could not attract any form of investment inflow are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano.
Others are Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
Based on an analysis of the NBS report, only nine state governments were able to secure fresh investments inflow into their states within the first nine months of last year.
Lagos State attracted the highest amount of $5.9bn during the nine-month period.
The $5.9bn investment inflow into Lagos State represented about 86.18 per cent of the entire $6.85bn that the country attracted during the nine-month period.
A further breakdown of the state’s investment inflow revealed that the sum of $865.71m was attracted in the first quarter, while the second and third quarters had $1.74bn and $3.29bn, respectively.
The Federal Capital Territory and Akwa Ibom State followed, attracting total investment inflows of $849.12m and $76.42m, respectively during the period.
For Akwa Ibom State, its $76.42m investment inflows were received as follows: $18.36m in the first quarter, $34.08m in the second quarter, while the third quarter attaracted $23.98m.
During the period under review, Ogun attracted fresh investment inflows of $6.75m; Oyo, $6.35m; Rivers, $550,000; Edo, $3.74m; Enugu, $630,000; and Kogi, $148,000.
In terms of sectoral inflow, findings revealed that investment through shares attracted the highest amount of $985.33m.
This was followed by the services sector, with $732.53m; while the production and banking sectors recorded $584.32m and $267.74m, respectively.
Others are oil and gas, $206.46m; telecoms, $207.81m; financing, $107.22m; agriculture $66.56m; electrical, $32.72m; brewing, $8.83m; construction, $4.07m; and consultancy, $6.72m
The rest are trading, $23.98m; information technology services, $7.53m; marketing, $1.68m; drilling, $1.51m; and hotels, $170,000.
Speaking on the investment climate, the President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Institute of Directors, Nigeria, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed, called on the Federal Government to improve the level of corporate governance in both public and private sector institutions in order to encourage investors to bring in fresh funds to the country.
He said there could not be substantial improvement in the investment inflows into Nigeria without a fast economic growth entrenched in global best practices in both the public and private sectors.
The IoD president said there was a need for sound corporate governance in order to protect those that would investt their funds in the economy.
Mohammed stated, “Investors need to be protected through regulation; it is also important to recognise that only good corporate governance attracts investments in the long-term. This is what will enable organisations to attract financial and human capital, perform efficiently and generate long-term economic value for their stakeholders.
“It is obvious that only countries with strong corporate governance culture will attract more sustainable capital inflow and create more wealth than less compliant nations.
“The inference is that both domestic and foreign investors are likely to shy away from nations and states that do not guarantee investor rights, provide for adequate corporate disclosures or ensure sound boardroom practices.”
The Deputy Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Commerce, Mr. Seward Jones, stated that there was a need for the government at all levels to address some of the impediments to trade and investments in Nigeria.
Jones, who spoke to our correspondent on the sidelines of a meeting at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, said already, his country had signed a commercial investment dialogue agreement with the Federal Government to deepen commercial and investment ties between both countries.
The agreement, according to him, will allow for the exchange of information between the two business communities and the governments on key commercial and investment matters of importance.
This, he noted, was expected to improve the business climate, foster greater economic growth and ensure job creation.
Under the pact, Jones said the initial focus areas would be infrastructure, agriculture, digital economy, investment and regulatory reform.
On what was being done to attract more investments to Nigeria, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said the government was putting in place adequate measures that would enable it to attract fresh investments to the country.
Udoma explained that the Federal Government’s priority was to create a better environment for businesses to thrive, as the country was focused on expanding the productive base of the economy.
The minister, who noted that the country was open for business, gave an assurance that the government would continue to improve the business climate as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Udoma stated that there existed untapped investment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas, power, rail, mining and shipping, among others.
He said, “The fall in crude oil price experienced at the inception of the administration was a wake-up call for the diversification of the country’s economy, which has historically relied, almost entirely, on crude oil for its foreign earnings and government revenues.
“The government’s response to this was the development of an ambitious four-year plan to dramatically turn around the economic direction of the country. This plan is the ERGP. The ERGP is aimed at increasing the productivity of the Nigerian economy by encouraging private sector investment.
“Government is committed to achieving the objectives of the plan and getting the economy back on the path of diversified, sustained and inclusive growth.”