Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has called for improved private sector investment in Nigeria by European businesses, saying that the country’s investment climate is now very attractive and conducive.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who was on the panel discussant on ‘Delivering Jobs, Growth and Global Competitiveness’ at the on-going High-Level Conference on Jobs and Growth in West Africa, in Brussels, Belgium, said the Buhari administration had taken steps to improve the business climate in Nigeria, stating that the country’s business outlook for 2018 and in the medium-term was very positive.
The main objective of the conference was for the European Union (EU) to formally present to the West African sub region the European Investment Plan (EIP) as a tool for driving investment and inclusive economic growth in West Africa.
Other members of the panel were Mrs. Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade of the African Development Bank; Mr. Mamadou Traore of the ECOWAS Commission; Mr. Abdoulaye Fall of ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development; and Mr. Stefano Manservisi, the Director General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.
A statement from the minister’s spokesman, Mr. Akpandem James said Udoma told the gathering that Nigeria was open for business, noting that the current administration had taken steps to improve the business climate by initiating reforms aimed at stabilising the macro-economic environment, improving infrastructure and removing impediments that hitherto constrained business development in the country.
While making a presentation on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the minister explained that the Plan has three strategic objectives of restoring and sustaining growth, investing in the people and building a competitive economy.
He stressed on government’s determination to deliver on these objectives as it is aiming to achieve sustained inclusive growth and attaining at least a 7 per cent GDP growth rate by 2020.
With the implementation of some of the Plan’s reform initiatives like the establishment of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council and the setting up of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the minister said it had become much easier now to register and establish business in Nigeria.
According to him, there are positive signs already that the reforms are working.
Sharing experience on the administration’s poverty alleviation and job creation programmes through the Social Investment Programme (SIP), Government Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) as well as the Industrial Revolution Plan, he said government has not only created a platform for skills acquisition but has laid a foundation for youth entrepreneurship and employment generation.