By Crusoe Osagie
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has announced plans to leverage on the framework of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to drive both domestic and foreign investment into the country.
The Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, explained that the present administration is committed to further stimulating domestic and foreign investments in the country relying on the support of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
The minister who was represented by the acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr. Waheed Olagunju, at the 128th annual general meeting of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) however stated that Nigeria worth about N90trillion cannot depend on a meager budget of about N6 to N7 trillion to run effectively as a nation.
In his words: “A N7 trillion budget is not enough to run a N90 trillion economy. The best the government can do is to catalyse the private sectors to mobilise resources for the sector to ensure that the Nigerian economy is well operated for Nigeria to actualize its full potentials. This explains why we will continue to support the LCCI and indeed other private sectors organizations in the country using mainly the framework of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as well as the National Enterprise Development Programme as well as other initiatives of the ministry. We are committed to further simulation of domestic and foreign investments in the country.”
According to him, “The times are hard and Nigeria is in challenging times, but it is optimistic that given the very strong fundamentals of the Nigerian economy, we will be out of the woods sooner than expected. We will continue to count on the support of the private sector particularly the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) given the fat that Lagos accounts for a significant percentage of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and by virtue of historical factors and geographical circumstances, Lagos will continue to be the trigger for the Nigerian economy.”
In his capacity as acting Managing Director of BOI, Olagunju said Nigeria has export potentials and needs to diversify the sources of its foreign exchange, pointing out that Nigeria has depended on oil for a very long time.
“If we have a diversified economy and we export processed goods or solid minerals, processed petroleum products, we are going to earn more value than we are currently earning exporting crude products. For the past 30 years, we have been paying lip services to diversification, we have not done well in the last 30 years. We have to start doing things correctly going forward otherwise it will come back and haunt us. If we are determined and focused, we can turn around the Nigerian economy in the next five years,” he said.
He noted that in spite of the headwind, BOI has done better in 2016 than it did in 2015, attributing its success to its robust risk management framework, adherence to global best practices in terms of policies, procedures and processes.
“We ended 2015 with a ratio of non performing loan (NPL), which stood about 5.8 per cent, but by the middle of 2016, we have reduced that figure considerably to 3.87 per cent and by the end of September 2016, we had further reduced that by 3.84 per cent. What that means is that more than 96 per cent of the loans we approved some years back are being as and when due. We are also operating profitably, our bottom line is blue, because if you are not profitable, you cannot be viable and sustainable,” he added.
The president, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, its annual general meeting was to review the business environment and the economic conditions in the outgoing year and also to highlight accomplishments and advocacy engagements as major players in the OPS.
“We note the particular decline in oil price, the weakening of our currency and associated challenges this scenario portends. It is our prayers that we will get out of this stringer and wiser,” she said.
The chamber’s Director General, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said with the current revenue profile of government and current fiscal position of government, there is very little that the budget can achieve in terms of positive impact.
He added that in the current budget, there are serious issues of implementation and revenue targets that have not been met, stressing that implementing the achievement of these targets are not likely to be met.
“What is most important at this time is for us to have favourable fiscal and monetary, foreign exchange, trade policies. These polices are very critical to get us back on track. We need lots of domestic and foreign investments. All these will not happen if the policies do not inspire confidence of investors. If we look at the budget vis-à-vis the GDP, it is less than 6 per cent. The totality of federal government’s policy to GDP is less than 6 per cent. What can that do in the Nigerian economy. The focus should be on appropriate policies across all the dimensions of policies that we have mentioned,” he said.