Nigeria loses $188bn investment opportunities in 4 years

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Nigeria may have lost about $188.29 billion, representing more than 92 percent of investment opportunities available to the country between 2017 and 2020.

Details of a report by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on “Investment announcements versus FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Inflow in Nigeria, 2017 – 2020” revealed that the actual inflows of FDI into Nigeria within the period was about 7.65 percent of the total investment announcements captured by the Commission.

This indicates that  most  investment announcements and expression of interests to invest did not materialize or translate to actual investment inflow.

The report shows that total investment announcements captured by NIPC during the period amounted to $203.89 billion whereas actual FDI inflow was $15.6 billion, representing 7.65 percent.

Specifically, statistics obtained from NIPC stated that in 2017, only $3.5 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded  out  of a total investment announcements of $66.35 billion; in 2018 only $6.4 billion FDI materialised out $90.89 billion announced; in 2019, $3.3 billion out of $29.91 billion; and in 2020 only $2.4 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded out of $16.74 billion investment announcements that were captured.

NIPC noted, however, that its report is based only on investment announcements captured by the Commission which may not contain exhaustive information on all investment announcements in Nigeria during the period, adding that it did not independently verify the authenticity of the announcements.

NIPC further reported that in 2017, a total number of 112 projects were announced across 27 States and FCT; in 2018, there were 92 projects across 23 States and FCT; 2019, there were 76 Projects across 17 States, FCT; while in 2020, a total announcements of 63 projects were made across 21 States, FCT and the Niger Delta region.

Announcements details

Further details of the NIPC report revealed that in 2020, the top 10 announcements accounted for $15.59 billion, representing about 93 percent of total announcements.

The details show $6 billion by Indorama Petrochemicals and Fertilizer company from Singapore; $2.6 billion by Bank of China and Sinosure from China; $2 billion by 328 Support Serves GmbH from USA; $1.6 billion by MTN South Africa; and $1.05 billion by Sinoma CBMI of China.

Others are $1 billion by Torridon Investments of UK; $600 million by African Industries Group in Nigeria; $390 million by Savannah Petroleum of UK; $200 million by Stripe from USA; and $150 million by NESBITT Investment Nigeria.

In 2019, the top 10 announcements accounted for $26.29 billion or 88 percent of total. These include $10 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from Netherlands; $5 billion by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company from Nigeria; $3.15 billion by Sterling Oil and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO) from Nigeria; $2.3 billion by TREDIC Star Core from Canada; and $1.5 billion by OCP Group from Morocco.

Others are $1 billion by Tolaram Group from Singapore; $900 million by Yinson Holdings Bhd from Malaysia; $880 million by CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC) from Nigeria; $860 million by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC)/Lagos State; and $700 million by Seplat/NNPC from Nigeria.

The top announcements in 2018 accounted for $79.3 billion, representing 87 percent of total announcements captured by the commission.

The details include $18 billion by Range Developers of UAE; $16 billion by Total from France; $12 billion by Azikel Refinery from Nigeria; $11.7 billion by Green Africa Airways from Nigeria; and $9 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from UK.

Others are $3.6 billion by Petrolex Oil & Gas from Nigeria; $3 billion by CNOOC from China; $2 billion by Vitol/Africa Oil/Delonex Energy from Luxembourg, Canada and Nigeria; $2 billion by General Electric from USA; and $2 billion by Blackoil Energy Refinery from Nigeria/Niger.

The NIPC report revealed that the top 10 announcements in 2017 accounted for $43.1billion, representing about 65 percent of total announcements captured.

The commission did not, however, provide the details of the investors, sector, source and destination.

NIPC explains

According to NIPC, the gaps between announcements and actual investments demonstrate investments potentials which were not fully actualised.

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The Commission stated: “A more proactive all-of-government approach to investor support, across federal and state governments is required to convert more announcements to actual investments.”

OPS’ reactions

Reacting to the situation, Director General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, noted that the gap may not be unconnected to the economic recession and COVID-19 pandemic events within the period, aggravated by policy instability.

Olukanni stated: “Numerous studies have established that Foreign Direct Investment is dependent on the market size of the host country, deregulation, level of political stability, investment incentives, openness to international trade, economic policy coherence, exchange rate depreciation, availability of skilled labour, endowment of natural resources and inflation.

“You will agree with me that the four years spanning 2017 and 2020 are characterized by struggle to exit from economic recession, a period of slight recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic, and another period of recession. These circumstances may or may not be responsible for the political and economic reaction that can be witnessed in the uncertainty in the foreign exchange market, increased inflation, increased unemployment, increased political unrest and insecurity and so on.

“What can be established is that Foreign Direct Investment is averse to risk and uncertainty, especially the kind of uncertainty brought about by policy instability and economic policy. An obvious example is the closure of the land borders in 2019, while justifiable through the lens of national security is certain to have a negative impact on Foreign Direct Investment which has a long-term planning horizon.

“In summary, to seek to increase actual FDI is to promote the factors that have been shown, empirically, to positively impact FDI. While the Nigerian economy checks the boxes of most of these factors, economic policy coherence, foreign exchange market stability and insecurity are issues that are currently the bane of FDI inflows.”

Also commenting, an economist and private sector advocate, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who is also the immediate past Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce of Industry (LCCI), said the development reflects low level of investors’ confidence occasioned by structural problems of infrastructure and worsening security situation.

His words: “It is investors’ confidence that drives investment, whether domestic or foreign.   Investors are generally very cautious and painstaking in taking decisions with respect to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is because FDIs are often long term and invariably more risky, especially in volatile economic and business environments. Uncertainties aggravate investment risk. 

“Investors in the real sector space are grappling with structural problems especially around infrastructure. There are also worries around liquidity in the forex market; there are concerns about the accelerated weakening of the currency. There are issues of heightened regulatory and policy risks in many sectors. 

“Investors’ confidence has also been adversely affected by the worsening security situation in the country.   Meanwhile, the economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the likely factors impacting investment decisions.

“Our ability to attract FDI will depend on how well we position ourselves.   The critical question will be around expected returns on investment.   Overall, it is the investment climate quality that will make the difference.   We need to ensure an acceleration of necessary reforms to make Nigeria a much better investment destination. We need policy reforms, regulatory reforms and institutional reforms, among others. 

“We should accelerate the ongoing foreign exchange reforms; we need to undertake trade policy reforms to liberalise trade in sectors of weak comparative advantage; we need regulatory reforms to make regulations more investment friendly. We need to create new opportunities in the public private partnership   (PPP) space, especially in infrastructure. We need to see more privatization of public enterprises.   

“It is important as well to quickly fix the ravaging insecurity in the country.    All of these are crucial to boost investors’ confidence.”

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