Insurgency in the northern part of Nigeria has not discouraged foreign investors from exploiting the myriad of opportunities in the country, as a new set of foreign investors have expressed interest in the economy.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed this recently, saying not less than 25 foreign investors have signified interest to make significant investments in Nigeria notwithstanding the deadly activities of Boko Haram, a militant sect prosecuting a campaign of terror in northern region.
According to the finance minister, who briefed journalists on the outcome of Nigeria’s participation in the 2014 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB), all the investors wanted was an assurance that the macroeconomic stability would be maintained.
“We had a meeting with Standard Bank, the next thing they told me was that there were 25 investors, portfolios and that they wanted to ‘meet with you’. We had to organise a meeting with 25 portfolio investors, most of them from the US and the UK. And what they had to tell us was that we (should) maintain the macroeconomic stability, they were not talking about the insecurity which shocked me because the bulk of their questions were focused on the economy. Our economy is resilient, they want to know: Are we going to keep steady? In the face of the coming elections, would there be pressure on the military expenditure? What trajectory?,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala, who noted that the investors did not raise any concern about the insecurity in Nigeria, said that the insurgency was temporary as the country would prevail at the end.
She also stated that the investors believed the Nigerian economy was so strong and resilient that it would weather the security challenge.
“They believe Nigeria will overcome the security challenge. They believe this is a temporary thing. They believe that the economy is strong and that it would weather all these insurrections.
“They believe that the Nigerian government will prevail at the end and that is why they are staying because of the yields on our bonds. Our Eurobonds yields there are holding very steady. We have our yield at 4 and 5 per cent, which is good. It’s not just that they are talking, there are evidences. If they don’t believe in us they would start selling and pull out,” the minister said.
“For the country, this has been an encouraging meeting in terms of the significant interest.
“As you hear everywhere Nigeria was mentioned as the largest economy in Africa; I think this is really playing very well to our advantage and it’s making investors, no matter what happens, to still want to stick with us. So we need to build on it and continue to make sure that we have a steady performance of the economy because people are looking at performance, they are not looking at television sound bites.
“May be if there is a perception on TV and all that but there is what investors see; the reality they see is a steady economy with sources of growth. Of course people will look and see and say this part, there will be some impact from low activities in the North-east, but it is going to be made up by increased activities all over the rest part of the country, remember that is just a small part of the country,” she added.