Since the inauguration of the Goodluck-Sambo administration, the Federal Government of Nigeria has received about N2.2 trillion investment commitments from the foreign and local investors for the non-oil sector of the economy. The investment is expected to stretch over a period of twelve month. The Minister of trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga confirmed this initiative at a press briefing in Abuja.
From the N2.2 trillion received, about N1.55 trillion will be invested by local investors in the manufacturing and agro-business industries while N600 billion ($4 billion) will be invested by foreign investors.
The Ministry of Trade and investment also secured a fresh N1.52 trillion investment for the next one-year from twenty companies in the non-oil sector of the economy with additional N34 billion worth of investment commitment in the agro- industries and agri-businesss sector of the economy at a meeting held with key players in Lagos.
This was received after thirty major investors met in Nigeria, Australia and United Kingdom, which resulted to investment and commitments in the health, manufacturing, agric, oil and gas, mining sector among others.
The Ministry will work with these companies to realise their expansion programmes and to extend the survey to other companies.
The investment commitment together with impending government policies from the National Economic Council (NEC) is expected to lead to significant investment growth and job creation in the following months.
Although, a recent report contained in the World Investment Report (WIR) established that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Nigeria fell by 29% in 2010, it is believed that with all these new initiatives in place together with the partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for international Development (DFID), the World Bank and the European Union to improve business and climate program; there will be an increase in the inflow of FDI into the country which will make up for the past shortcomings.
This shift in investment is to reduce the country’s dependency on oil since the 1970s. As a result of this oil boom, Nigeria neglected its strong agricultural and light manufacturing basis in favor of unhealthy dependence on crude oil.
It has become important for the country to have a rethink in its economic investment as it is predicted that due to the estimated 33 billion barrels in reserve, which will last about 30 years, Nigeria may run out of oil by 2035.
Therefore, for the economic investment of the country boom, the ministry of trade and investment have set up a 23-man committee to review the bilateral and multilateral agreement and Nigeria’s Trade policy in line with the commitment in order to explore opportunities not utilised before.
The trade policy, which was last reviewed in 2002, is considered outdated, leading to conflicting approach in implementation. The review will cover the relevant laws and policies, incentives, use of free trade and euro Zones including areas identified by World Economic Forum on competitiveness, the World Bank and DFID in survey on doing business in Nigeria.
The review will also promote the country’s climate and competitive index.
Apart from these, plans have been finalised to reactivate the Nigeria-Australia Business at the Commonwealth Head of Government meeting in Australia this year to act as the catalyst for trade and investment.
Other efforts by the ministry include the creation of desk at Nigeria main embassies to act as facilitators, first point of contact and source of information for investors as well as working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop a commercial objective for the country’s main embassies.
An interactive web portal will also be launched to ensure the ministry and its parastatals buy into the new strategic direction by showcasing the enormous investment opportunities in the country.