By Babajide Komolafe
Nigeria should develop a foreign Direct Investment strategy that will facilitate the creation of jobs for the millions of unemployed in country.
Dr. Patrick Kormawa, Regional Director, United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS said this at the annual Dinner and Dance of the International Chamber for Commerce Nigeria (ICCN) held in Lagos.
The Dinner, which was chaired by Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Head of Interim Government, featured the official unveiling of the 2012 Guidelines on International Investment developed by ICC.
In a keynote address delivered at the Dinner, Kormawa observed that though Nigeria received $3 billion as foreign direct investment (FDI), which is the highest in Africa and records average annual growth of the economy of about seven percent, unemployment remain a major challenge.
“About 4.5 million new job seekers add to the unemployed population in Nigeria every year. It is therefore imperative that investment policy focuses on creating sustainable and descent jobs to grow the economy and to put more Nigerian’s back to work.
Speaking on steps measures to address this challenge, he said, “Nigeria should focus on strategies to increase FDI to the manufacturing sector in Nigeria. This will help increase the MVA to GDP, expand trade, increase employment support the balance of paymentInvest in investments. Invest in the necessary infrastructure,, institutions, skills and innovation. This will attract investors. A quick way to do this is to learn from successful countries, and adapt lessons learnt and use innovation to leap-frog.
“Expand trade and improving services. Expanding trade will put more people at work if there is a vibrant modern manufacturing or service sector. In the case of Nigeria, there is need to invest in upgrading and modernizing targeted industrial sectors that support export trade.
In the light of the third industrial revolution the country needs to move towards a more diversified industrial sector with focus on the use of renewable energy, intelligent technologies and new business models
“Support investments in Science, Technology and Innovation to ensure food, energy and job security for Nigerians today and in the future.
“Support the acceleration of regional integration to take advantage of free movement of goods and services and market opportunities. Nigeria is well situated between West and Central Africa, with flight time of about 5 to 6 hours to Europe of these would expand international and intra-Africa trade. It is therefore in Nigeria’s economic interest to continue pursuing regional integration of Africa.”
Commenting on the 2012 edition of the ICC Investment Guidelines, Mr. Babatunde Savage, Chairman ICCN, said, “Historically, the promotion of foreign direct investment has been a priority for ICC, beginning with the publication in 1949, of its International Code of Fair Treatment for Foreign Investments. Evolving from that initial code, ICC published the first edition of the Guidelines for International Investment in 1972.
The 2012 edition explains clearly the respective responsibilities of the investor, home government and the host government relating to international investment. There are substantive revisions on labour, commercial, investment and fiscal policies reflecting the contemporary environment for international investment. There are new chapters on anti-corruption, competitive neutrality and corporate responsibility.
It is the intention that these guidelines will be useful for investors and government in creating a more enabling environment for cross-border investment and understanding more clearly their shared responsibilities and opportunities in fulfilling the vast potential of cross-border investment for shared global growth.”