Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance (CME), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Muhammad Bello
In decades to come Nigeria will be a major investment haven for the global community considering its robust economic policies being engineered through the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Leading international investors, who attended the three day Nigerian high level business and investment summit in London, who gave the verdict were confident that the micro-economic policy of the administration is among the best in the world.
President Jonathan who was represented at the opening of the summit by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance (CME), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, posited that the country has the potential to grow its economic base in spite of the challenges.
According to him, the country recorded a steady growth rate of 6.17 per cent in the first quarter of the year and improved by about 6.5 per cent by the end of the second quarter.
According to a report submitted to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by Okonjo-Iweala, the investors who predicated their support for Nigeria’s economic solvency on its effective management of the economy and execution of far-reaching reforms, believe that the country is right on track.
Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, who along with the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji briefed State House correspondents after Wednesday’s FEC meeting, stated that the Okonjo-Iweala’s preliminary report from the London conference showed how the world is looking up to Nigeria with high esteem.
According to Maku: “the CME told us that the world appreciates the present reforms that are taking place in Nigeria. Specifically, she said global investors believe that the micro economic policies of Nigeria are presently some of the best in world.”
“They believe that Nigeria’s economy is been run in a very convincing way and that because of the management of the economy and the reforms this administration is implementing. Most investors believed that Nigeria is a destination for any significant investment in sub-Saharan Africa in decades to come,” Maku added.
He said the report of the minister, which is corroborated by other ministers at the summit, showed that foreign investors who participated in the summit were keen on investing in the agriculture, communication technology, works and several other ministries, departments and agencies in the country.
Maku’s words: “According to the CME, they believe that if these reforms goes on it is very clear that Nigeria’s economy is heading in the right direction and that our macro economy policies are applauded,” emphasising that “it is a re-affirmation that President Goodluck Jonathan administration is leading this nation towards an economic transformation.
Nnaji, who was also at the summit, agreed with Maku saying that many foreign companies have been showing interest in the privatisation of the country’s power sector, explaining that “the privatisation of these many power companies, is not merely just about the privatization, the intention is that the generating companies should have the ability to serve powers to the distribution companies that are credit worthy.”
Nnaji who said currently the distribution companies operating in the country are not credit worthy observed that “unless the distribution companies are credit worthy, they would not be able to buy power from the generating companies, so the apex government need to provide guarantee, credit support and build their confidence.
“With the privatisation, all the distribution companies will now get healthy because all of them will have new investment by the company that will win. They will invest, build the distribution networks, improve collection efficiency and provide metres and ensure that the system will work just as it should in anywhere else in the developed world,” Nnaji noted.