EXPERTS, at the weekend, say barrier to movement of goods across the borders is a major factor militating against the growth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.
Still, Department for International Development (DFID) Trade Advisor to the Federal Government and lead consultant to the World Bank, Prof. Ken Ife, put the country’s loss to trade barriers at $25b yearly. He said all performance indicators remain low despite efforts to improve them.
Ife spoke during a gala night of a Finance Forum held in London, the United Kingdom.
The two-day conference drew participants, including Nigerians in the Diaspora and foreign investors, from different parts of Europe and America.
Disclosing that it costs $5000 to convey a container of goods from Tema Terminal in Ghana to Lagos, while similar container coming to the destination from Europe costs $2,500, Ife said Nigeria needed to simplify trade in line with global best practice.
“Recently, I found out that there are 26 checkpoints between the Seme Border and Lagos in the day time; the figure doubles in the night. And World Trade Organisation (WTO) says such points should not be more than three. You spend more money and time when checkpoints are too many.
“In a recent survey, Nigeria ranked 148th in trade-cross-border performance. We cannot achieve anything meaningful unless we address trade barriers,” Ife warned.
Co-chair of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Amina Salihu, also lamented that the country remained backward socio-politically.
However, she charged Nigerians in the Diaspora to begin to play active role in the development of the country’s economy through investments. She said there are huge opportunities with high returns despite reported socio-political risks in the country.
Member of the organising committee of the conference Seye Aina, said it was time Nigerians in the United Kingdom began to play leading role in driving the investment market.
Rebasing the gross domestic product (GDP) to capture the informal sector, impact of insecurity/corruption on the investment market, policy inconsistency featured prominently during the interactive session.
Foreign participants were particularly concerned about government’s political will to tackle the issues in order to reduce investment risks. The transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan was critically examined.
While many said the government had not demonstrated sufficient courage to show that it could deal with the rot in the economy and position the country for speedy growth, its ‘faces’ at the forum pleaded for more time, saying “one year is not enough to assess performance in governance.”
Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of financial system, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export-Import Bank, Robert Orya, said ongoing multi-sector reforms, when completed, would positively affect the business environment.
|< Prev||Next >|