• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Investors wary of election impact on markets, economy


As the 2015 elections draw nearer, investors are conscious of the negative impact of absence of level playing ground on the markets and the economy, stating that they need assurances that all stakeholders will allow for free and fair elections to sustain their interest.

They say the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties must allow for free and fair elections, while the Federal Government should intensify efforts to improve security in many parts of the country and create stronger institutions.

“Investors need to be assured that elections would be free and fair. They need to be assured that there will be level playing ground field. They need to be assured that the major institutions of state managing the electoral process will not be compromised. These are very critical elements necessary for the sustenance of investors’ confidence at this time,” said Remi Bello, president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on behalf of investors, during a forum entitled, ‘Making Democracy Work for the Private Sector’ held in Lagos.

According to Bello, there was worry about lull in governance as some disproportionate amount of time and resources would be devoted to electioneering and related activities to the detriment of the economy and investments, stating that a strong economy driven by the private sector was imperative for wealth creation, employment generation and stable democracy, stressing that the quality of Nigeria’s democracy and the country’s prosperity were mutually reinforcing.

While responding, David Mark, Nigeria’s Senate president, said the political leadership needed a robust private sector to ensure social and economic stability, adding that the current level of private sector’s interest in legislative activities was not encouraging. According to him, representation of the private sector at the National Assembly’s public hearings were often very low in terms of number and quality, saying that the legislature needed to be guided by the private sector on the kind of policies that could improve private sector productivity and capacity to create jobs.

He said the National Assembly fully appreciated that the role of government was to provide a conducive environment for business to flourish, stating that government had not fared better in the management of institutions such as NITEL, M-TEL, NIPOST and Nigeria Airways.

“The emphasis of government should be on the provision of public goods, social services, security and some vital infrastructure as well as the creation of quality and stable democratic institutions. In this regard, we are providing all necessary support to the executive to ensure continuity in policies to maximise the delivery of democratic dividends,” he said.

John Litwack, lead economist, World Bank, said development of Nigeria depended on the stability of institutions and regulations, adding that the major problem in the country was that bulging growth rates did not reflect on ordinary Nigerians. He stressed that there was the need to put in place regulations that would be too difficult to change, while calling for improved regulations in the extractive industry to create jobs and entrench inclusive growth.

Patrick Komarwa, resident representative, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said Nigeria should emulate Belgium, which had no government for 20 months yet ran all its institutions smoothly, stressing that the despite progress made in some areas, Nigeria must brace up to tackle youth unemployment and strengthen its institutions. He said there was need to sustain investor’s interest now and beyond elections.

“There must be trust from the followership. Ebola was able to be defeated because the followership believed the leadership,” he said.