Despite the ravaging COVID -19 pandemic which has disrupted global business activities, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is optimistic that the attractiveness of country as an investment destination remains strong.
Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Yewande Sadiku, who made the disclosure in a chat in Lagos, said some sectors would be more attractive because of the pandemic. According to her the sectors to watch in the months ahead for extraordinary accomplishments and growth include healthcare and pharmaceuticals; renewable energy and technology sector despite the disruption in e- commerce and e-education that allows children to study from remote locations, what they cannot do in a typical classroom.
She also expects that the world will see more investments that are looking for large domestic markets rather than those looking for low cost efficiency, adding that technology will make manufacturing methods more efficient and improve quality, but would not take away investments looking for large markets.
Sadiku disclosed that as a result of the pandemic, large markets in a single location will be more attractive due to change in global travel; “ that is why I think Nigeria will continue to be attractive.”
However, the NIPC boss noted that the country needs to target investors aggressively to make them focus on Nigeria since there will be a lot of competition for their attention, emphasising the need to continue to make it easy to do business in Nigeria and reduce the cost of doing business to make the country more attractive.
According to her, the expectation globally is that the pandemic will affect investment flows and the economy, which will make global recession inevitable.
“You need to have negative growth for two quarters to have a recession, a synchronised global recession where countries follow each other. So, growing into that recession is inevitable, we expect foreign direct investment (FDI) to be affected. There is an estimate that about 30 to 40 per cent drop in FDI is what we will see in 2020 and 2021. So, what will happen in Nigeria will follow in similar line. That is the expectation. The pandemic will change many sectors. Recommending that promotion efforts at attracting more investments in the country should be more aggressive, she noted that a lot of countries, from where our investments came in the past, will be looking for investments.
Ms Sadiku, who noted that there has been announcements by the finance minister and the CBN on government’s efforts at ensuring the economy does not suffer as much after the pandemic (post COVID), added that world economies would suffer storm because of the pandemic as such she said investors will look more into large market in one place or country and Nigeria still has the quality; that is the market seeking investment which will be more important.
Noting that the pandemic must have taught a lesson, she said it is important for countries to have basic level of capacity particularly in food, healthcare and pharmaceutical, adding that if a similar event reoccurs and citizens cannot cross borders, the country can feed itself.
“I expect that investment in future will look to what is worth doing good rather than just profit making.”
Encouraging more domestic investment, she opined that more Nigerians would invest in their own country with the realisation that if such problem like the pandemic reoccurs in the future, they would be able to handle it.