By Obinna Chima
The Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Eke has advised international and local investors to take advantage of investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Standard Bankâ€™sÂ West Africa Investorsâ€™ Conference 2018Â held in Lagos, Ekeh stressed that investors that exit the country before their investments mature always regret.
â€œThis is the best time to invest in Nigeria, this is the best time to take that risk. You can say the country is partially analogue, but it is an opportunity for investors.
â€œA lot of people are panicking because thereÂ would be election next year. The Nigeria of today is not the Nigeria of yesterday. Cowards lose money. Every business has an element of risk and you must anticipate the future in the third world.
â€œNigerians like to spend. Are we going to continue having problem, the answer is no. There is a terminal date for the problems in this country.
â€œWhen you are doing business in this type of a country, you must look at the positive side. You need to understand the science of business in the third world. â€œWe have the negative side of every business. If everything is comfortable you wonâ€™t make money. A simple shift of 0.5 per cent in inflation hits you in New York, but here in Nigeria, five per cent shift means nothing,â€ he told his audience at the conference.
According to Ekeh, there are two different types of investors in the third world -those who understand the business and those who are looking for money.
He, however, stated that the â€œscience of business in the third world has to do a lot with common sense.â€
Â â€œThe challenge of Africa is the quality of leadership and this has nothing to do with age. Basically, what I want to say is that cowards panic during this period, but smart people make money.
â€œNigeria is not going to go through war. If you are an investor, you must see the country from a positive angle.
â€œThe challenge of this country is that investors come to look for profit, they donâ€™t invest any percentage of that profit in this country. Social responsibility is something that should be driven from your conscience,â€ he added.
In his presentation, theÂ Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company,Â Mr. Bismark Rewane, has saidÂ inflation in the country will generally remain high in 2018Â and2019
â€œInflation is expected to average at 14.8 percent this year; it will likely be in the range between 14-16 percent,â€ he said.
Speaking on the theme, â€˜The Pathway Towards Inclusive Economic Growthâ€™, RewaneÂ urged the federalÂ government to invest inÂ infrastructure, power and create opportunities for businesses to thrive.
Â HeÂ added:Â â€œOnly policies that are considered politically expedient will take the forefront, hence little or no difference in policy changes would be expected.
â€œIn fact, policy and economy will be driven by political considerations. The economy is performing sub-optimally as the Real Gross Domestic Product growth rate at 0.8 percent lags growth in potential GDP of 1.9 percent. This is affected by indecision, self interest and the crony capitalism in place.â€
RewaneÂ further added:Â â€œMisery index is increasing due to rising unemployment currently at 55.13 percent. The high-income inequality, with income per capita of $2000 and high poverty rate of 69 percent is not good enough.â€