This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
Former Central Bank Governor and Emir of Kano state, Sanusi Lamido, on 21st April 2018, expressed his annoyance over the absence of top Nigerian ministers in a meeting organized by the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
The meeting organised in the United States capital was a 'Nigeria – US' investment meeting meant to foster investment relations between both countries.
Six ministers including the current Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who were supposed to handle sessions at the meeting were all absent.
Why is missing the meeting a problem?
For starters, it makes it seem like Nigeria is not willing to do the work necessary to attract foreign investment. The behaviour displayed by top officials and ministers can be translated as lack of interest in engaging with potential Nigerian partners.
Does Nigeria really need Foreign Investment?
Nigeria’s current investment rates ranks below that of it peers. In a 2016 report by PwC, between 2007 – 2016, Nigeria’s investment share of GDP declined from 18.7% to 12.6% - its lowest level in the past two decades.
In addition, Nigeria’s economy is too dependent on oil and gas. As identified by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, there is a need to attract investment in other sectors to attain sustainable growth for the country.
Investing in transport, real estate, agriculture etc. will not only reduce the amount spent yearly by Nigeria on recurrent needs, but will also enable the ability to channel more funds to social sectors like education, water supply and health, which at the moment are in great deficit.
PwC estimates Nigeria needs at least 20 trillion naira worth of investment, double its current level to tackle its balance of payment constraints and increase growth levels.
It is therefore important to demonstrate seriousness in attracting the needed investment to push Nigeria.