London – Dr Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, on Sunday said Nigeria still ranked fourth in the global ratings on nations with high returns on investment.
“When you talk of returns on investment, Nigeria ranks fourth with an average return on investment of about 36 per cent, which compares to about 6.6 per cent globally,’’ Aganga told newsmen at the end of the 17th session of the Honorary International Investment Council (HIIC), held in London.
He said reforms and policies in all sectors of the Nigerian economy continued to attract good investment flow, with infrastructure and power having the most opportunities for investments.
“Currently we have a pipeline commitment of at least 59 billion dollars in different sectors of the economy and that excludes the commitment in the power sector.
“In power alone, we have commitment of over 60 billion dollars over the next five to eight years.
“So, if you are looking for a home for foreign direct investment (FDI), then I will say power is one of the very important sectors and the biggest opportunity,’’ Aganga said.
He said opportunities in the power sector cut across the value chain involving power generation, transmission, distribution and production of the turbines.
The Minister also said the return on investment in the road sector was equally high, especially in areas with toll routes.
“There are three projects now, where the return on investment is particularly very high, and we have seen a lot of investors indicating interest in this sector.
“Port construction and railway are other areas with boundless opportunities in Nigeria.
“When I talk about rail, it goes beyond rail. It includes warehousing, logistics and the whole eco system,’’ Aganga stated.
While emphasising on the gains of the HIIC since its inception, Aganga noted that aside incentives to attract investment, government was committed to creating a competitive environment.
“A competitive environment is our main focus. The issue is not about just incentives alone,’’ he said.
Also at the occasion, Mrs Saratu Umar, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), said the economy has continued to witness a good influx of investors.
She said this was in spite of the country’s security challenges.
Umar said about 59 billion dollars investment was currently being channeled to various sectors of the economy, noting that this signifies the high rate of Local Direct Investment (LDI).
“LDI has done immensely well. We have the Dangote Group, Elumelu Group of Companies, the Ovia Group, among others, which all have robust investment cutting across all sectors,’’ she said.
The NIPC executive secretary who also noted government’s commitment to attracting investment to the non-oil sectors said in line with this year’s HIIC focus on infrastructure “investment in rail transport can be in all areas’’.
“Rail investment can be in locomotives, coaches and wagons. Investors have indicated interested in coming to Nigeria. We already have two investors who have indicated interest, and more are coming,’’ she said.
Similarly, Baroness Lynda Chalker, the Co-ordinator of the HIIC, in an interview with the Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said investment in the rail sector was important.
She said such investment would have significant benefits on other sectors of the economy.
Chalker, who noted that less than one per cent of goods were currently being transported by rail, urged investors to explore all the opportunities in the value chain of rail transport.
“One of the key things is not to just get the rails and the routes right but to also get the locomotives and drooling stock right.
“The less than one per cent of goods transported by rail has to increase, while goods transported by road which causes pollution and congestion has to decrease.
“Because, unless you do that, you cannot have a viable continuous rail sector,’’ she said.
HIIC is an organisation of prominent investors from around the world who advise governments on economic development.
The council’s partnership with Nigeria includes reducing corruption, attracting foreign direct investment, and promoting a private sector-driven economy.
NAN reports also that the Council members at the 17th session applauded the continuous process of the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and reforms in the power sector.
The members also noted the increase in flow of investment in spite of the country’s security challenges.(NAN)