Minister of Trade Industry and Investment Okey Enelamah has said Nigeria has a conducive and profitable environment for for foreign investors. Enelamah made the remarks at the Nigeria-United States Business Forum held recently in New York. The minister also made mention of government being in haste to create the right environment for businesses to thrive.
“We are building infrastructure; we are providing the enabling environment and we are improving on the ease of doing business.
“There is a sense of urgency for Nigeria’s industrialisation and we are providing the enabling business and investment environment for investors,”
Investors seem unmoved
Despite the promises and presentations by the Minister and his team, foreign investors are not keen on direct investment in the country. The latest capital importation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that a large proportion of the funds coming into the country went to the capital market. Portfolio investments tend to be very unstable, and move to regions with the fastest rate of return.
The rosy picture painted by the government differs from the reality on ground. Absence of infrastructure such as roads and stable power, means goods produced in Nigeria are more expensive compared to those made in other countries. Rising political tensions in various parts of the country, has also discouraged foreign direct investment in the country. Multiple taxation by different tiers of government, is another obstacle towards investing in the country. In a bid to raise revenue, the government has instituted a strict regulatory regime, fining firms for the least infraction. The 2015 fine imposed on MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is a case in point. Though the government has made some progress with reforms in the ease of doing business, much more needs to be done.