Vice President Namadi Sambo
By Muhammad Bello
If the subsisting tempo of economic growth in Nigeria is maintained in the next five years, the country will become a five trillion economy.
Members of the Honorary International Investments Council (HIIC), a group of prominent global investors that advises the federal government on investment drive, handed the verdict at the end of its 13th meeting at Berkeley Hotel, London.
But the Council, chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo and coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, noted that “this feat is realisable only if the image of the country is transformed.”
According to Chalker, "As I said in Abuja at the last meeting in July, Nigeria has real opportunities and I hope that you members of the press will talk about these real opportunities. You actually let your own country down when you focus on the negative. We have to see what we can do to make sure you focus more on the positive because really it is there."
She said the security challenge in some parts of the country does not have negative effect on the drive for investment, but the way the media report these events.
She insisted that media practitioners should focus on development journalism that will showcase the country in a positive light so that government will concentrate on addressing the security situation.
The Minister of Trade and Investments, Olusegun Aganga had informed the Council that Nigeria has recorded improvement in terms of growth environment score in the past 14 years.
“So, the good news is that we are in a right position, we are in a better position to drive our growth and development going forward. Recognising that Nigeria has been growing by seven percent for the last 14 years is a high return environment. These have been confirmed by the number and quality of investors investing in the real sector of the economy," Aganga said.
He also spoke about the macro economy, which he said Council expressed satisfaction going by the available indicators.
His words, "We spent some time looking at the macro economy. The good news from that is that Nigeria has a very good and compelling story to share with the world. It has a strong and stable macro-economic environment. From all indicators, exchange rate has been stable for quite some time. Nigeria credit rating has just been upgraded when you compared to other countries that have been downgraded.
"So, it's a very different story, it is strong, it is positive and investors are reacting to this positively all over the world. People are excited about the credit of Nigeria, they are excited about the credit of the country and we have seen a lot of investors in the country.
"One of the decisions that was made which council agreed on is that council support the reforms of the federal government and its strategy for addressing those reforms. The message is that Nigeria has changed and it has compelling indicator facts to support this."