By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Federal Government on Friday said it will bring investment to different sectors of the economy so as to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on debt.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Saratu Umar disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja,
The NIPC boss said that the President supported the effort to strengthen the investment drive of Nigeria, and that President Buhari is willing within the time, he is still president of Nigeria to do the best he can to ensure the country’s investment drive is given a lot of traction.
She said, “So I’m very encouraged and I’ve been given a lot of energy now, to continue what we’re doing at the commission that would help the investment promotion drives of Nigeria. As you know, we have the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement now area in force, and the FDI will now try to locate anywhere on the African continent as a signatory to this agreement.
“The aim for us as a nation to ensure that we channel FDI to Nigeria, so that we can facilitate import substitution, because when we facilitate import substitution, we will be able to conserve Forex, and then also channeling investments into the export sectors of the country.”
The Executive Secretary said that when they able to facilitate exports, they will be able to generate more foreign exchange, noting, “there’s a challenge with foreign exchange and supplying everything we believe once we do that, the play of import substitution and forex generation will also help the value of the naira and make life easier for Nigerians.”
She further stated that the Commission believed once they’re able to bring an investment to different sectors of the economy, the burden of debt will decline.
According to her, some of the reliance we’ve had on debt will be reduced because investments will now be able to play in certain sectors that would minimize the rate.
The Executive Secretary said she came to brief Mr President, being the chief investment promoter of the nation on the different initiatives the Commission is handling at the moment.
Mrs Umar said that the President needs to have a briefing on the investment ecosystem and the plans the NIPC has going ahead to revamp the investment drive of the country.
“I have briefed him on the ongoing development of the Nigerian Investment Promotion masterplan that takes into cognizance the different sectoral master plans that have been developed by Nigeria.
“We have the master plan for agriculture, solid mineral and there are a number of blueprints and policies that the government has developed, in addition to the national development plan that we all know has been developed by the country.
“So we’re looking at the different sectors that are stated in these different plans, and then deriving our own investment drive along those sectors so that we go for targeted specific investment drive, targeting different countries and not replicating those countries, as well as investors as well.
This, the Executive Secretary said was an ongoing plan being developed and once the Commission accomplished it, they would engage with different stakeholders adding that President Buhari will launch it as at when due.
She explained that the NIPC is mandated to coordinate all investment promotion activities in Nigerian economy and to be able to do that, effectively, “we’re putting up the framework to have that coordination in a more strategic manner.”
Mrs Umar who said there were some other initiatives that she would rather talk about when they become fruitful, but declined to mention them.
On the effect of the present security situation in her effort to woe foreign investors into the country, the NIPC boss said, insecurity is a kind of concern to any investor, but it’s not really the major reason why investors would stay away.
“There are certain parts of Nigeria, that are not really undergoing this issue and for those ones that are not having the issue, we’re trying to ensure we get investment to those sectors.
“And for those of them that are having the issue, we’re trying to work doubly hard to see what’s possible to still do within the situation we find ourselves.”
She assured that what investors would be more concerned about are other issues like Ease of Doing Business, amongst others, saying “when we re-energize the commission, we’ll be able to give more effective services to investors.
“By the time the Commission is able to bring in more investors, they’ll create jobs, and once they create jobs, all of this has a way of minimizing some of the situations confronting the nation.”