BY PETER EGWUATU
Participants at the FBN Capital second investors’ conference had emphasized the need to have a sustainable economic growth and development that will make Nigeria one of the world’s largest economies.
The conference which focused on how the nation can sustain the momentum of gains from ongoing reforms to achieve the push for economic growth had the theme:
Catalysts for growth:
Managing Director/CEO, FBN Capital Limited , a subsidiary of First Bank Group, Mr. kayode Akinkugbe said the conference, just in its second year had become an event that carries a huge potential to inspire conversations and actions that can move the nation forward.
Akinkugbe said the conference was a necessary follow-up to the maiden edition last year. The maiden edition of the investor conference focused on Nigeria’s aspiration journey to becoming a recongnised emerging market.
“We achieved our aim to move the conversation on to considering the enabling factors and practical actionable initiatives that can be taken to boost Nigerian growth. “Some of these micro economic areas are: capital market, agriculture/agro-allied, real estate, power and oil & gas,” he said. We are quite pleased that the event has become a flagship with respect to providing a platform for solutions to hurdles between the nation and fast paced economic development,” he said.
Participants at the conference noted some steps forward by the Federal Government in the policy arena this year and acknowledged the positive changes outside the country. For instance, the Federal Government has substantially reduced the fuel subsidy; introduced a “cost reflective” electricity tariff; and taken privatization in the power industry to the stage of naming preferred bidders for the generation and distribution companies.
A presentation from Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment showed that Nigeria attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) of $8.9bilion in 2011, and was therefore the leading destination in Africa. The Federal Government is aware that the enabling environment has to be improved, notably Nigeria’s competitiveness.
Its Investment Climate Reform Programme is supported by the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development. The minister has set a target of $16bn for FDI in 2013. On trade, he stressed the rapid growth of relatively new partners, noting that south-south trade is now growing by 12 per cent annually.
On its part, JP Morgan recognised the development of the capital markets by including three FGN bonds in its government bond index. Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has acknowledged progress on the macroeconomic front by upgrading Nigeria to BB- for its sovereign, long-term obligations. This brings S&P back into line with Fitch Ratings.