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Government Asked To Make Strategic Arrangement For Coming Investments

Channels Television  
Updated May 12, 2014

Pascal-OdigboThe Nigerian government has been asked to make strategic arrangements to ensure that investments that will come into Nigeria, canvassed for at the World Economic Forum on Africa, will translate into inclusive growth.

Reviewing issues discussed the forum that ended on May 9, an economist, Pascal Odigbo, on Monday, said that “if the government and other players in Nigeria’s economy fail to make proper arrangement, the nation will continue to have a GDP that is running away at 8 or 9 per cent with the man on the street lacking needed energy to power his machine to vulcanise a car tire”.

“The government and private sector must come together. There must be a platform of direct engagement to look at all the opportunities. The agencies of government must work with the people to see that there are credible platforms of better engagement with the foreign investors,” he said, expressing optimism that more investments will come into Nigeria.

Mr Odibo pointed out that since Nigeria was included in the MINT, seen as the next world powers, investors’ interest in the country had increased, describing the increase as a fulfilment of prophecy.

Tackling Terror Attacks

“Holding the forum in Nigeria was a major step and an investment well done but the government and the private sector need to leverage on the forum to make sure that the full benefit of the gathering does not dissipate after the forum,” he said expressing fears that Nigeria has a system that  is very disjointed.

“The economic forum will apply its own pressure on the government to put things in place.

“Investors are coming and it will put pressure on both the mangers and the practitioners of the Nigerian economy – the private sector- for them to organise themselves in such a way that they could take full advantage because people are beginning to put their money where their mouth is,” Mr Odibo stressed.

During the forum, the Premier for the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang said China would be increasing its credit line to Africa from 20 billion dollars to 30 billion dollars, listing Power, Telecommunication, aviation, training professionals and meeting the pressing needs of Africa as the major challenges that the Chinese government would be looking to solve.

Currently in Nigeria, China is building four airports in Kano, Abuja Port Harcourt and Enugu.

Mr Odibo also expressed belief that Africa had a community of trained professionals, both young and old, that could take on anything given the right opportunity.

He stressed that the era where people think that it was an honour for them to lead had passed, as Nigerians would be asking questions which the leaders are expected to provide answers to.

“We are going to look into their eyes and ask them questions and if you cannot provide answer to the questions you will just leave honourably.”

On the possibility of the insecurity situation in some northern states discouraging investors from coming to Nigeria, Mr Odibo said that there is the need for security agencies in Nigeria to up their games, describing the security situation in Abuja during the forum as artificial.

“What is in shutting down a place because you wanted to provide security?.”

He pointed out that terrorism was not a local thing, stressing the need for international community to be involved in tackling the terror attacks by the Boko Haram sect in the north east.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, had called on world leaders to see the need to join in the fight against the terrorists’ activities which he described as “pure evil” and promising to provide support to the Nigerian government.

“The world will be foolish to leave Nigeria alone because they have investments here and they intend to bring more. The Americans are engaging in Northern leaders in discussions, finding ways of solving the insecurity issues in the north.

“Northern governors should be able to see the need to deal with the insecurity too, as the root of the problem in the north is due to negligence by the leaders to educate the people,” he said.

Agribusiness Campaign

The economist also urged the Nigerian government to step up agribusiness campaign in order to get more youths involved in agriculture.

“Whatever you produce and sell at its raw form, you are just shot changing yourself and that is why it is important to key into what the Minister of Agriculture said about the need to move agriculture from just being an interventionist issue to a business, where people will be able to know that they could become rich doing agriculture.

“People that retire from work, after putting in all their efforts in their jobs; they become farmers at old age. It is not going to work that way.

“The idea should be to involve younger people in agriculture.

“Get the youth to embrace agriculture as agribusiness. Teach them the value chain. You must convert cassava to sweetener, convert cocoa seed to chocolate. It is in this value chain that it becomes profitable. ” he said.