The acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday re-echoed the need for foreign investors to invest in Nigeria, warning that they would regret their inaction in the next 10 years.
He also said the Federal Government was injecting over N701bn into the power sector.
Osinbajo spoke at a meeting with delegates from the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said, “The world is a much smaller place and it gets smaller by the day. I like the point that was made by the DG of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission that anyone who doesn’t invest in Africa or Nigeria, in 10 years’ time, they would be queried by their establishment, that ‘you just missed out on the best possible opportunity’ and you know that it is not easy to miss out on the best possible business opportunity.”
Osinbajo recalled that there was pessimism when the first set of telecommunications licences were to be issued in the country especially because Nigeria had only 400,000 telephone lines at the time. He stated that about a year after issuing the licences, all the major telecommunications companies that did not invest in the sector found themselves holding the short end of the stick.
He said such firms later realised their mistake because in five years, a firm like MTN had shown that the sector in Nigeria “was just incredibly profitable.”
He said, “They had made profit in one year. MTN alone now has something in the order of about 12 million or so lines if not more, and that’s one of the telecommunications companies that we have.
“So, really, Nigeria is a place that is waiting to happen and it will happen. That’s really the point. It will happen. The truth of the matter is that any country that opens itself to free enterprise, the way Nigeria is opening itself to free enterprise, will somehow find that it will work.
“That is one of the critical things that we are bringing into the mix. We are insisting that the only way that this country can make the profit that it needs to make is by private sector investment, beginning with local investment.”
On the power sector, Osinbajo said the Federal Government would be infusing N701bn into the value chain to free up the sector.
“The power sector is almost completely privatised but we have had difficulties because of tariffs, for example. Many times you look at our power sector, we have an installed capacity of about 12,000 megawatts today but we are only able to put on the grid under 5,000, a little above 4,000 megawatts.
“What we need to do is to make this profitable for the private sector. So, we are working on the whole value chain. We are trying to free up that value chain, beginning with working on tariffs.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said government was committed to building confidence for investments in critical areas such as agriculture, education, oil and gas, health, infrastructure, mining, manufacturing, real estate and construction.
The minister noted that the inauguration of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan earlier this year was aimed at fostering sustainable and accelerated development as well as restoring economic stability and growth to the country.
He said the implementation of the plan and other policies of government would facilitate investments in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the NIED, James Fadel, said Nigerians in the United States were interested in such untapped areas as logistics, housing and security.
He said they could invest up to $2bn in such sectors.