By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has urged investors to pack their bags and come over to Nigeria, saying the nationâ€™s returns on investment in all sectors of the economy are among the best in the world.
According to a statement last night, The CBN Governor made this remark while addressing an elite gathering of capital and money market players, investment bankers, treasurers and other fund managers at the London Stock Exchange, in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange at the weekend.
Emefiele said: â€œNigeria is ready for business.â€
The CBN governor who was said to have drawnÂ intermittent applause from the gathering, told the story of how Nigeria emerged from what he described as itâ€™s worst recession in decades.
He revealed on-going reforms and the huge opportunities available to investors in several sectors notably agriculture, solid minerals and infrastructure.
According to the statement, the CBN was particularly applauded by participants for its ingenious management of the foreign exchange market which saw the recovery of the naira as well as the reforms in the funding of agriculture as demonstrated in the success of the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the establishment of the highly successful Investors and exporters window of the foreign exchange market.
Present at the occasion were the British Minister for International Developemt Hon. Priti Patel, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Mr. Nikhil Rathi; CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema; Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Director General, Debt Management office (DMO), Mrs Patience Oniha; Governor of Edo state, Dr Godwin Obaseki; and Mr Ike Chioke, Group CEO of Afrinvest.
Also at the occasion, the Nigerian Banking sector report conducted by Afrinvest was launched and it showed that Nigerian banks remained resilient and profitable, in spite of the headwinds emanating from the current economic situation in the country.
Part of the highlights of the occasion was the honour given to Emefiele to ring the opening bell for trading last Friday at the London Stock Exchange.
In his address, Chioke stressed that â€œthis is the right time for foreign investors to re-engage with the Nigerian economy.â€
He elucidated the stable macroeconomic environment that now exists in Nigeria, and the extensive reforms in diverse industries that continue to create a favourable environment for long term investments.
â€œWe stand on the side of optimism that the glass is half full. With a population of 180 million people growing at 2.8% and indicators that show positive GDP growth, certainly, the Nigerian economy is one to watch.
â€œThis forum, therefore, comes at a topical moment, and we are proud to lend our voice to the international community that Nigeria is open for business. This is the time to come back.â€
â€œWe have already seen strong reforms in the agriculture, power and oil & gas sectors. In addition, there have been commendable efforts to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, including the introduction of Visa on Arrival,â€ he added.