Next president must tackle insecurity to secure investment


As Nigeria elects a new president, citizens have proposed key actions for the incoming administration to improve investments and tackle insecurity in the country.

Speaking to various experts, BusinessDay gathered that there are expectations that with improved investments and better security, macroeconomic conditions will improve and this will place Nigeria on the path of accelerated inclusive growth.

Their views fall on the back of the obvious abysmal performance of the All Progressive Congress’ (APC) eight-year rule.

Tajudeen Ibrahim, director of research and strategy, ChapelHill Denham, told BusinessDay that the incoming president must prioritise efficiency of the foreign exchange market and also ensure that the pricing of naira is reflective of economic realities.

“Furthermore, the FX market rate must be converged and there must be accelerated investments in infrastructure to attract investors,” he said.

He said that investment in infrastructure is crucial, noting that poor infrastructure such as poor power supply will not attract investors, adding that Nigeria’s ranking on the ease of doing business index must also improve.

Uche Uwaleke, professor of finance and capital market at Nasarawa State University, said the next president must come up with monetary reforms to address various issues such as the multiple exchange rates.

“If we must attract more investments, high inflation must be checked, even though we can barely control it, we need to find a way around it because it affects our investment climate,” he said.

For the oil and gas industry, Uwaleke advised that the next president must ensure the effective implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, remove fuel subsidies and increase refining capacity.

Asue Ighodalo, former chairman Nigerian Economic Summit Group, said in a statement that in recent times, Nigeria has experienced low foreign investors’ confidence due to issues ranging from insecurity, foreign exchange scarcity, entrenched capital controls and an unfriendly business environment.

“Our inability as a nation to give the right signalling to investors will lead to subdued investment flows and capital flight which has a number of consequences furthermore, the lack of investor confidence also implies that the cost of borrowing for both the government and corporates will increase,” he said.

Data from the Global Terrorism Index revealed that Nigeria is the third most terrorised country in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq, with a record terror-related deaths estimated at 1,245 in 2019 and 1,606 in 2020.

With the significant rise in security threats and crisis, Freedom Onuoha, a security expert and professor of political science at the University of Nigeria, said the incoming president must work to reposition the defence and security sector by entrenching the principle of transparency and accountability.

“Opaqueness in the sector has allowed corruption to thrive which is prolonging the war against insecurity; defence corruption inhibits the ability of Nigerian armed forces to effectively tackle the security threats,” he said.

Onuoha urged that the institutions responsible for oversight, particularly the National Assembly, must be strengthened and held responsible in ensuring that the defence budget is properly accounted for, from procurement to management of personnel to operations.

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Similarly, Adejoh Sunday, a security analyst, highlighted the need to place competence above sentiments in appointment of security officers, particularly the Office of the National Security Adviser.

“It should be opened to all Nigerian with the requisite qualification expertise to deliver, also the office and mandate of the NSA must be clearly spelt out in the Constitution,” he said.

The next administration is also tasked with restoring trust in the governance system and giving room for transparency and accountability.

Auwal Ibrahim, executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, told BusinessDay that there is need to restore people’s confidence in the system to drive trust and also encourage accountability.

He also called for a complete reform across all sectors of the economy to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness.

“Also people who have the capacity, intent, proven track record, commitment and patriotic will to deal with governance issues in Nigeria particularly insecurity must be consulted,” he said.