…reduce tax, tackle insecurity, others

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA-AS apprehension holds the Buhari-led administration over alleged moves by Ghana and other African countries by wooing companies to leave Nigeria for theirs as disclosed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Saturday, called on the Federal Government to take pragmatic steps to fix critical infrastructures and review policies to salvage exodus of companies from the country before it is too late.

Companies feel unsafe in Nigeria- ActionAid

The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Ene Obi, said, “I think is a terrible thing going on, and this is not new, there are many offices in Ghana and neighbouring countries because they don’t feel safe doing business with Nigeria, and it is not knew.

“The kind of new we have is the insurgency, kidnapping, and the way the economy is being run, the fact that many people are not i their homes, and they cannot go to their farmers.

“Nigerian government needs to arise up and take security more seriously, and any investor in Nigeria would say how long should I continue?

“The infrastructure is another big issue. We cannot get electricity right. This is generator-economy, and the ease of doing business is very expense, and you would want to go to a country where all these issues are not there.

“But Nigeria is a huge market. No matter a lot of people want to get out there is a lot that would still happen.

“Nigeria has been a consumption country, you are not industrializing,  you have the population, new investments are not encouraging because of your environment.

“Those are some of the areas we have to look at. Infrastructure should not be an issue at this time; the roads are bad for transporting goods, the cost of fuel is high,, and the cost is both on business men and consumers it just reduces the country and we have all the potential.

“Get the road, electricity infrastructures right because Nigerians and investors are resilient.

“We need to look at the quality of Nigerians, and we need selfless leaders who are going to put Nigeria first.”

Nigeria’s failing to guarantee security for investors-AGI

The Executive Director, Adopt a Goal Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “The world we live in is a global marketplace where nations, especially developing countries like Nigeria, Ghana and others, are competing for Foreign Direct Investment and business opportunities, offering a conducive climate for investments to thrive.

“What Ghana and other nations are doing to Nigeria, lobbying companies to leave the country, is not strange; Nigeria is increasingly failing to guarantee security for investors and provide a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

“The recent attacks on the International Airport in Kaduna and the Abuja-Kaduna train by terrorists without any swift response from the security agencies are bad enough to provide a leeway for these other African nations to poach companies from Nigeria.

“We are running a government that compromises everything, including security and intelligence, so the companies in Nigeria are easy waiting targets for the more serious African countries to be lobbied away.

“The only advantage we have is our population, but the security and conducive climate for these investors come first, and this is what Ghana and others see as an opportunity to grow their own economy, profiting from the failure of Nigeria.” 

Nigeria’s economy crumbling, scary to investors-CN

The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Deji Adeyanju, said, “It is evident the reason why this is happening because the Nigerian economy is crumbling.

“The taxes are exorbitant even State governments are increasing taxes, and so businesses will definitely move to places where taxes are lower, electricity is working, the price of petrol and diesel has become exorbitantly high, running cost has become extremely very high. So it has become practically impossible for businesses to thrive and survive.

“Again there is scarcity of US Dollars is another issue, and our economy is run by crude oil, so the difficulty of availability for forex, and a situation where you have 62 crude oil pipeline vandalization on a particular pipeline, and more than 80 per cent of our revenue stolen by pipeline vandals.

“So we don’t have money to run the economy, and also businesses don’t have money because they cannot take sufficient forex from Central Bank of Nigeria to run their businesses.

“In Ghana the situation is not the same, and this is the reason why businesses are being approached to go to more friendlier and solid economies.”

Near collapse of infrastructure-OLF

The Founder and President of One Love Foundation, OLF, Chief Patrick Eholor, said, “That many African countries are lobbying companies to leave Nigeria is not a surprise to me and I am sure to many others too. 

“The disturbing issues are will Nigeria ever absorb the shock of this companies exodus? Are there any deliberate efforts towards making the companies come back?

“For the most part of the last 10 years of Nigeria’s democracy, there has been near collapse of infrastructure. The development has been so bad that most businesses groan under intense pain due to overhead cost incurred in providing alternative infrastructure like power. In fact, power has become an albatross to the nation’s manufacturing sector.

“For instance, in 1999, manufacturing sector accounted for not less than five percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This shrunk to 4.9 per cent in 2000.

“As a result of high cost of production that results from inadequate infrastructure, the manufacturing capacity utilization remains on the down side.

“The manufacturing sector is further bogged down by massive decline in capacity utilisation resulting from high exchange rate of the Naira and congestion at the ports.

“Prior to the financial meltdown, the manufacturing sector had not fared better largely due to lack of infrastructure and high production cost.

“Nigeria is endowed with significant natural and human resources, but the failure of the country’s leadership to get it right over the years has continued to set the country backwards.

“General economic meltdown, policy somersaults, failure to protect foreign investors investments and lack of deliberate efforts to separate business from politics have sent many foreign investors back home.

“Apart from facing the challenges of inadequate power supply, corrupt government agencies also collude with local companies scared of competition to drive foreign companies out of the country.

“Indeed, Nigeria’s operating environment has become increasingly challenging to investors.

“The government’s failure to protect the foreign investors has exposed their investments to threats by government agencies and local investors.

“These local investors take advantage of their familiarity with the political environment to undermine their foreign partners and in some cases take over their investments.

“Apart from retail traders, and oil companies, other categories of investors are also facing challenges. So, I am not surprised if they are lobbied to leave.”

Unfriendly business environment responsible-Global Rights

The Country Director, Global Rights Nigeria, Abiodun Bayeiwu, said, “Economic development is a competitive process and countries are right within their objectives to vie for investments within their borders.

“It guarantees jobs for their citizens and in turn revenues through taxes and other forms of revenue for the government.  

“Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. If just for our population size we should be the darling of investors but factors such as poor public infrastructure – especially power, insecurity, a volatile currency, corruption and unfriendly access for businesses are ready hindrances which may make other countries more attractive for serious businesses.

“The implications are clear: divestments will make the Naira more unstable, increase unemployment and negatively impact our image as a nation.”

FG should fix leadership, infrastructure, others-Yiaga Africa

Speaking on the issue was the Senior Programme Officer, Yiaga Africa, Michael Agada, pointed that

“Other countries lobbying companies in Nigeria to leave for their country will always have lesser implications for Nigerian economy than Nigeria’s failure of leadership and inability to tackle it is problem, especially with regards to security and power.

“Never forget that every country will always behave in ways that tilt towards their national interest as a basis for any international relations – regardless of how it sometimes affect other countries, even their neighbors. Hence you cannot completely blame them.

“Most of international trades are on a free market scale. So it is about taking advantage of situations like insecurity and lack of power or even issues around tax incentives in Nigeria and promising better business environment in order to lure these businesses.

“The implications of being a free market in business and trade are the fact that you cannot simply regulate how companies and countries should interact with each other, particularly in relation to ways that maximizes their advantage.

“Nigeria has an advantage of population – which is hugely required to improve market sales and services, thereby improving profit for these companies, but the incentives (majorly power, foreign exchange, tax and security) that guarantee the smooth operation of the companies are lacking in great measure. Nigerians and Nigeria must understand that in the international system, “friendship” or even “brotherhood” is a function of national interest, not love, not charity, not sentiments and the likes.

“I had rather Nigeria bothers itself with getting leadership right and make practical efforts in fixing its problems, than making a fuss about Ghana’s behavior. Even if Ghana or other countries don’t lobby these companies, it’s only a matter of time for these companies to look for safer operational spaces to do their business. Are you aware that even businesses that belong to Nigeria nationals are also relocating to these neighboring countries? So who is lobbying them? 

Would you blame them?

“When it comes to business, safety and loss minimization is key, hence the competition for advantage is to create environments that are safe and able to mitigate losses! This should be our focus. Fixing our leadership, security, power should be our focus and they’re way more important than any country’s effort in lobbying of those companies.”

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.