• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Experts call for more reforms as investor interest rises

Foreign investment

Several experts who spoke at the BusinessDay CEO Forum said the recent efforts to stimulate investment in Nigeria need to be sustained, calling for more reforms in other sectors of the economy.

Yewande Sadiku, head of international investment banking at Standard Bank Group, said Nigeria used to be termed uninvestable by foreign investors, but now in almost every investor meeting she has been to since the new government took office, Nigeria was almost always the first to be discussed.

“Nigeria used to be termed uninvestable by foreign investors but the removal of the fuel subsidy and unification of FX by the new administration has brought Nigeria back on the discussion table, investors are incredibly confident in the country,” Sadiku said.

She, however, said there’s also caution in the optimism because these reforms are still new. “So there is a need for structural changes for these reforms to take full action,” she said.

“We have issues of security; we have reforms that are needed to move Nigeria forward,” she added.

Tominiyi Owolabi, managing partner at Olaniwun Ajayi LP, said that when it comes to investments in Nigeria, enforceability is a really big issue.

“One of the things that is lacking essentially today is massive investment in the judiciary,” he said. “Inconsistent judgment comes out of our courts and that’s a key factor that the current government needs to focus on. Foreign investors often ask about the protection of their investment by the law. They say if there’s a judgment over a dispute, they are not sure if the judgment will be executed.”

Read also: Nigeria expects $20bn foreign direct investments as oil projects get green light

According to him, in Nigeria, there is easy access to court but getting out of court is the issue.

In a panel session on the theme ‘The impact of government policy’, Julius Rone, CEO of UTM Offshore Limited, said there is a need to look at the three tiers of government in terms of policies, as they have ways they can discourage investors from coming into the country.

“We have to talk about the inclusiveness of federal, state, and local governments. There are policies that each of these levels of government can enable or discourage businesses from coming in,” he said.

“Foreign investors usually say the judicial system does not give entrants to investors and makes them unwilling to come into Nigeria. The government needs to make policies for the judicial systems that will encourage businesses to come in,” he added.