Verraki Partners, a business solutions company focused on accelerating the development and transformation of Africa, has called on the Federal and State governments, working in partnership with private sector stakeholders, to replicate the Lekki Corridor also known as ‘New Lagos’ across other parts of Nigeria.
With deliberate government policies to attract private capital leading to huge construction projects and fast-developing real estate market, the Lekki Corridor is believed to be the fastest growing region in Africa, attracting huge individual and institutional investments such as the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), the Dangote Oil Refinery, the Lekki Deep Seaport, International Cargo Airport, chemical and fertilizer plants, among other projects.
Speaking during his presentation, themed ‘The Drivers of Private investment and Outlook 2020’ at an Economic and Business Outlook 2020 seminar organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Niyi Yusuf, Verraki’s Managing Partner, said the Lekki Corridor has already attracted over USD 50 billion in investments, with more investments still expected.
In his opinion, this would attract local and foreign manufacturers and businesses, boost the country’s exports significantly, raise employment rate and the nation’s industrial output.
He called for increased support for Nigerian small and medium enterprises, considering their significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a comparison of private investment indicators across Africa, a benchmark of Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya showed that SMEs in Nigeria had the largest GDP contribution in Africa at 49 percent, trailed by South Africa at 34 percent, Kenya at 30 percent and Egypt at 25 percent.
However, he stressed, Nigeria needed an improved enabling environment for SMEs and urged for better government patronage for SMEs.
He explained that 16 percent of South Africa’s Federal Government procurement goes to SMEs while the United States of America spends 22.5 percent of all Federal procurement on SMEs via the Small Business Administration and urged for a deliberate policy that would channel at least 20 percent of the Federal Government’s procurement towards indigenous SMEs.
He said that this would create access to markets for indigenous businesses and foster expansion.
In his presentation, Yusuf enumerated several key drivers of private investment globally such as monetary and fiscal policies, macro-economic conditions, effective governance, innovation capacity, taxation, credit rating, business confidence, infrastructure (including Information and Communications Technology) and a skilled workforce and rated Nigeria on these drivers.
He noted that the 2020 economic outlook will only be marginally different from previous years if the government embarks on needed reforms and deliberately embrace private capital.
He advised Nigerian businesses to ‘Uberize non-earning assets’, diversify revenue sources, build resilience into production, adopt local sourcing and backward integration and embrace technology.
He also advised businesses to remain agile and stay competitive.
The LCCI Economic and Business Outlook seminar is designed to lay out the major trends and events expected to impact the economy and commerce in Nigeria in 2020 and featured presentations by other speakers. The seminar had in attendance representatives from small, medium and large enterprises and other members of the private sector.