By Peter Egwuatu
An update received from the office of the Vice President of Nigeria on the state of foreign investment inflow into the economy has indicated that about $83.9 billion worth of investments were announced between January 2017 and the end of the first quarter of 2018, Q1’18.
The report titled, “2018 Making Business Work”, evaluated government’s efforts in improving the business environment in Nigeria and was presented to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat in the Vice President’s office during the monthly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
A breakdown of capital investments as contained in the report showed that in 2017, over $66 billion worth of investments were announced, comprising 112 projects across 27 states and the FCT Abuja, while an additional $17.9 billion worth of investments were announced in quarter 1 of 2018, as actual capital importation stood at $6.3 billion, representing over six times the value in the first quarter of 2017, Q1’17.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who unfolded the report yesterday, stated that measurable progress has been recorded on multiple fronts as the economy responds to key government interventions particularly in the areas of economic growth, inflation, foreign exchange & external reserves, capital market, investment, infrastructure and social investment programmes.
Looking at the journey so far, according to him, the report indicated that under economic growth, the rigorous implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, led the economy out of a recession in 2017; it grew to 0.83 percent, up from -1.58 percent recorded in 2016, on the back of improvements in agriculture, industry and trade.
It further stated that the economy has registered four consecutive quarters of steady growth.
In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew 1.95 percent and is projected to grow by up to 3.0 percent over the year, driven by stronger oil prices, stable production, increased non-oil output and improved foreign exchange availability.
The report also indicated that for the first time in Nigeria, under the competitiveness section of the ERGP, soft infrastructure is expressly recognized as a deliberate strategy to attain economic development through the facilitation of an enabling business environment for businesses to thrive.
The report specifically recognized government’s efforts in improving the effectiveness of soft infrastructure such as the financial system; the education system; health care system; the system of government; law enforcement; and emergency service.
According to the report, “Nigeria’s reforms have so far seen it successfully move 24 places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. Overall, in the current reform cycle, the PEBEC focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms. The focus will be on deepening existing reforms.
Complete pending initiatives and ensure implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management, as well as making the reforms sustainable.”
On inflation, the report indicated that the pressure on prices is easing and inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72 percent in January 2017 to 11.60 percent in May 2018.