By Gabriel Olawale
Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, yesterday called on the three tiers of government to create a level playing field to engender the confidence that will attract investment necessary to fund national development plans.
He made this call in his opening remarks at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse noting that the absence of a level-playing field for all investors is one of the key factors responsible for poor performance of the economy in relation to the various National Development plans.
Peterside, who was also the Chairman of the occasion noted that the government made it difficult for right thinking persons to invest in Nigeria as the nation’s economy is rigged in favour of a few people.
He stated: “When you look at the data, the investment to GDP ratio after military rule, was as high as 35 per cent which means that everybody was ready to invest and then growth followed.
“But something went wrong from 2015 and since then, it is either we are in recession or struggling at ground zero. One of the fundamental things we did wrong in the last few years was to deliberately decide that we will not offer investors a level-playing field.
“Imagine three people in the same sector in Nigeria, getting forex at different prices, while some who are close to the corridors of power get at N480 per dollar, the next man gets at about N500 per dollar and the third one with wrong parentage gets at N580 per dollar.
“Since 2015, several African countries around us have been growing rapidly. Some of them learnt from what Nigeria did right before 2015 and replicated it in their countries.
“But since 2015, the investment to GDP ratio continues to go down which is about 15 per cent now. So the investment activities are now so small that the impact cannot be noticed.
So, as a country, we have deliberately rigged the economy in favour of a few people and anybody that is not connected to the powers-that-be were forced out of the business.