• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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NESG says Kogi government face off with Dangote Cement will harm Nigeria’s investment climate

How Nigeria can achieve sustainable development- NESG

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG has expressed grave concern over the attack launched at the Dangote Cement plant at Obajana by agents of the Kogi state government saying incidents like it portend severe danger for the economy.

In a statement titled “building investors’ confidence: wrong time for missteps,” the leading think tank and advocacy group said, “the recent dispute between Kogi State & Dangote Cement Plc & the action taken by the State Government gives the impression that such a commercial dispute cannot be amicably settled using the existing dispute resolution mechanisms. Such action sends inappropriate signals to investors, both domestic & foreign, and could result in an increase in our country risk rating.”

The NESG noted that in recent times, Nigeria has experienced low foreign investors’ confidence arising from a number of issues ranging from insecurity, foreign exchange scarcity, entrenched capital controls and an unfriendly business environment.

According to the group, “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.”

The NESG said incidents like the face-off between the Kogi state government and Dangote Cement will “hamper our ability to sustain the growth and development of the non-oil sector which is expected to reign in needed revenues to finance the 2023 budget and remain so for the next foreseeable future.

“The expected investment into the oil sector of which the full implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act is expected to attract, for which the government has taken a number of steps, may be jeopardise.

“Dwindling foreign exchange earnings through limited capital inflows will lead to continued devaluation of the Naira. Wrong signalling will further lead to the underdevelopment of the financial and capital market with very limited financial instruments and investable assets.”

Read also: Presidency moves to resolve Dangote Cement, Kogi government crisis

It added that “the lack of investor confidence also implies that the cost of borrowing for both the government and corporates will increase. Furthermore, the Nigerian government will be under pressure to service its debt and this could either constrain future budget non-debt expenditures or result in more borrowing. Both options would only heighten the risk of a depressed economy with rising unemployment and poverty rates.”

The President recently submitted the 2023 Appropriation Bill to the National assembly. This budget which shows a huge deficit, that relies on the country’s ability to attract and mobilise both foreign and domestic capital.

Similarly, the Nigerian delegation to the ongoing Annual meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund would be expected to seek some support and attract the much-needed foreign investments into the country. This is in addition to what the Private Sector is doing towards mobilising foreign investments. This therefore re-enforces the need for the Nigerian government to ensure that the signalling to both foreign and domestic investors is not only right but friendly and appropriate to attract investments into the country.

Following the constrained fiscal space faced by the Nigerian government, investment in critical sectors is what will drive economic recovery and sustain the growth momentum in the medium term. Investment, both local and foreign direct, is often associated with job creation, technical knowhow, technology, economic growth and the strive towards efficiency.

While saying it recognises the effort of the government towards improving the business environment, NESG said, “it is imperative for both the Federal and State governments to work together towards ensuring improved ease of doing business and good governance practices.”

According to the NESG, “there is no better time to build investor’s confidence than now. We, therefore, admonish His Excellency, Mr President to ensure that the right signalling and conducive business environment are provided to attract both foreign and domestic investment.”