• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Portuguese investors worry over naira volatility

Portuguese investors have identified several potential investment sectors in Nigeria but have shown concern over unstable exchange rate, which is heavily impacting the economy.

Consequently, they call on the Nigerian government to ensure investment friendly environment by focusing more on local production in order to improve on its foreign exchange.

“There are several potentials in Nigeria we will want to tap from, some of which include pharmaceuticals, construction, information technology, and fast moving consumer goods, such as food, drinks soap, among others,” Pedro Hipolito, CEO, Nigeria Portugal Friendship and Business Association, said at a business forum organised by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) in Lagos.

Hipolito said he had been exposed to Nigeria for five years and had seen that Portuguese companies had a lot of potential to do business with Nigeria and investors will have good returns for their investments in the country.

He is worried over the decline in exchange rate and expect to see a replacement of imports by local production, saying companies should plan to move production here and to produce locally, because there is no reason why the products are not produced here.

The country has quality human resources, big internal markets, and he expects the company to replace imports by local production.

As Nigeria continues to strive to attract investment from friendly nations, various incentives have been put in place to encourage and appreciate any investor who believes in Nigeria and in its economy.

This was the position of Remi Bello, president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who was represented by Nike Akande, deputy president, LCCI, during the occasion of receiving a trade delegation from Portugal.

According to Akande, investors are to take advantage of these incentives, the projected high yield on their investment and the huge potentials within the economy.

“There is tremendous trade and commercial opportunities in Nigeria economy and the various reforms within the economy in the past few years, which are aimed at ensuring a good business environment, there is no better place to invest in Africa,” she said.

She noted that sectors such as power, health care and agriculture offer huge investment potentials to Portugal, adding that the huge benefits that investors in telecommunications, construction and tourism sectors had reaped in the past few years, were clear evidence of the Nigerian market as one of the highest return on investment in Africa.

While shedding light on the business opportunities that lie in Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, former deputy governor, CBN, and foundation member, noted that Nigeria now ranked the world’s 26th largest economy in Africa and also ranked sixth among 20 fastest growing economies in the world with an expected growth of 4.9 percent.

“Nigeria’s GDP has been rebased since 1990 contrary to best practices of five years, which means that the country economic figures did not reflect the true picture of its performance over the last 24 years,” he said.

HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE and IFEOMA OKEKE