Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga
By Eromosele Abiodun
Following recent report ranking Nigeria among the worst countries to do business, the Institute of Directors ( IoD), has called on the Federal Government to address the state of infrastructure in the country as a key step towards reversing the trend.
Speaking at a briefing to announce its forthcoming maiden convention, scheduled for Abuja, President/Chairman of Council, IoD, Mr. Thomas Awagu, said the institute was aware that there were enormous challenges confronting the country.
However, he said that it was necessary that these challenges were harnessed to grow investments and help create jobs in the country.
Lamenting the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, Awagu said the situation had brought to the fore the need to reposition Nigeria, making it competitive in the global economic landscape.
He said: “There are enormous challenges confronting us today as a nation. These challenges include insecurity, corruption, poor infrastructure and unemployment, amongst others. Nonetheless, we at the IoD Nigeria believe that a lot of hope exists for the nation to realize its potentials and be transformed to its desired status, given the nation’s inherent potentials and resources.
“It is our conviction that the afore-mentioned challenges present a need for us as citizens and friends of Nigeria to explore ways of making our country more competitive on the global scene and attract necessary investments and create jobs.”
Awagu emphasised the need for the creation of an enabling environment and significant investment in economic infrastructure, saying these would help in addressing the current challenges confronting the country, help promote competitiveness and fast-track sustainable economic growth and development.
He further predicted a growth in the Nigerian economy and in the country’s ranking on the ease of doing business if the on-going transformation programme and infrastructure building projects are pursued vigorously and maintained.
Key among the projects that would drive the growth of the Nigerian economy, he said, include the Independent Power Projects (IPP) and on-going roads construction among others.
“In line with the mission of the IoD and as part of our efforts toward working with the government and relevant stakeholders to address the above-mentioned challenges, with a view to enhancing the reform efforts on the different sectors of the economy and facilitating the implementation of the National transformation agenda, vis-a-vis the realisation of the country’s vision 2020 objectives, the IoD Nigeria has scheduled to hold its maiden Convention, with the theme: ‘Good Governance for Business Sustainability,” he said.
According to him, the event is structured to bring together key players from corporate Nigeria, global delegations, the organised private sector, entrepreneurs, public sector officials and other relevant stakeholders to review achievements; identify and discuss constraints to progress; agree on issues that need immediate response; and decide on how all stakeholders can effectively contribute towards addressing identified gaps.
“The event is designed to have the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as the Special Guest of Honour - to deliver the keynote address. More so, the Director¬-General of the IoD, United Kingdom, Mr. Simon Walker is expected to be in attendance to deliver the goodwill message among others,” Awagu said.