By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Federal Government on Tuesday said it invested close to $10 billion (N3.61 trillion) in infrastructures across the country in the last three years.
Speaking at the opening session of the maiden Direct Investors’ Summit Nigeria 2018, organised by Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the funds were spent on roads, power and new national rail lines from 2016.
Osinbajo, said investment in infrastructure has been one of the Federal Government’s initiatives to improve the investment climate in Nigeria in addition to improvements in ease of doing business through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“We have in the last three years invested close to 10 billion dollars an unprecedented sum in infrastructure since 2016.
“Our focus is on roads, power and a new national rail network; all of which will help guarantee increased access to markets and reduced operating costs for businesses,’’
Osibajo, further said the federal government focus lab has identified $22.5 billion dollars’ worth of investment projects. He explained that Focus Labs were meant to identify and resolve problems impeding progress in key investment projects.
According to him, about $10 billion worth of these projects, with a potential for 500,000 jobs by 2020, have been classified as ‘Most Ready’
The Vice President, said the focus on agriculture had attracted billions of dollars in investments in the last three years in rice mills, sugar plantations, fertiliser blending plants, among others.
“Nigeria’s foreign reserves are now almost 50 billion dollars, up from 30 billion dollars when we assumed office.
“Our Sovereign Wealth Fund has in the last two years seen its first new inflows since it was established in 2011.
“We have grown our taxpayer base by five million new taxpayers; from 14 million in 2016 to 19 million today, as part of efforts to diversify Nigeria’s revenue base,’’ Osinbajo said.
The V-P stressed need for investors to come invest in Nigeria as the country has one of the most youthful populations in the world with 50 per cent over the age of 20 years and 75 per cent under the age of 35.
“It is easy to see why any global company serious about its future must just have to have a plan about Nigeria as many opportunities abound,” he said
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, said Nigeria recorded a total investment commitment of 83 billion dollars between January 2017 and March 2018.
“The country secured a total investment of 66 billion dollars in 2017 while the balance of 17 billion dollars investment was secured in the first quarter of this year.
“The investment commitments of 83 billion dollars were secured in three key sectors of the economy, namely oil and gas, manufacturing and real estate,’’ he said.
Ms Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary, NIPC, said government was committed to attracting investments.
She, said the summit was organised to bring together domestic and foreign direct investors face-to-face with policy makers and private sector players aimed at not only facilitating increased direct investments into the Nigerian economy but also linking new investors with existing investors in Nigeria.
The event was attended by the Ministers of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, the Minister of Works Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
Also in attendance was the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El Rufai, Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; Anambra State Governor, Willy Obiano, represented by his Deputy, Nkem Okeke, and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, also represented his Deputy, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga.
The maiden summit attracted over 180 direct investors from 30 countries and domestic investors as well as states across the country.