Oil bunkering, terrorism may have long term effect on investment in Nigeria- HIIC
Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)—Foreign investment in Nigeria will be negatively impacted on by terrorism and oil bunkering if not quickly checked, according to the Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC).
HIIC coordinator, Baroness Lynda Chalker, said, it is the responsibility of the government to arrest and persecute the people who are trying to tear the country apart.
Chalker who briefed journalists on Friday at the end of the Council’s two days meeting at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said though terrorism had not in any way affected the flow of investment into the country, she however said government needed to arrest the situation.
She said: “I don't think terrorism however worrying it is, has actually stopped any major investment yet, but if it is not dealt with and the bunkering of oil, if these things are not dealt with it will have a long term effect. And that is why listening to the President this morning; he said he will take specific actions to assist. Already he has a new National Security Adviser and new ministry of Defence. Their job is with the best of hope that can be given by the friends of Nigeria to stop these acts before they happen, to arrest the people, to punish through the courts, the people who are seeking to undermine your country. There are Nigerians, I don't think there are outsiders among them, they may get their armaments from outside but these are Nigerians. What are they trying to do, tear up the future for their children and their grand children.”
Chalker who briefed alongside Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and Minister of Information, Labaran Maku further charged government on the need to show transparency and accountability in its dealings so as to avoid negative reports.
She stressed that negative stories only undermined the country despite the huge opportunities available.
According to Chalker "what we hope is that we can turn the presentations of realities into the homes of Nigerians. This is the most positive meeting in terms of people cooperating to bring the best in Nigeria to the fore. Nigerian media must present the real Nigeria with positive stories to break through all the negatives we hear from outside."
The Coordinator of the Council said, "I see good signs ahead and we have to maximise its use for the people of Nigeria. It is important to listen to the people and express your decisions to the people.
“If the stories that come out of Nigeria are negative, you are undermining your own country. If people hear that there are opportunities, they then start to think of how I can work on those opportunities and that is what we have to get the Diaspora in every nation to do for the people of Nigeria. Every embassy and every high commission of Nigeria has got to promote the opportunities in Nigeria, when they are overseas.
“We have to encourage Nigerians to think about their future, their future generations, in their utterances.”
On the issue of perception of the country, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said it was looked at from several ways and concluded that the only way to have a good image out there is by focusing on the good aspect of the country rather than the negatives.
“We discussed on the perception of the country and we looked at that in very clear several ways and the first one was for all participants to look at the media, the performance of the Nigerian media and how we are reporting our country and one thing that came through was that yes while we are very free, very independent, and indeed enjoying the auspices of a democratic environment, we are also in several way guilty of proving the negative above the positive,” he said.
“One thing that came clearly across is that there is no nation that doesn't have a difficulty or a problem in its polity, but that citizens, the media and the government must make efforts to ensure that we tell the good stories about ourselves even more than the bad stories, because if we choose not to do this the negative impressions continue.
"Most people who visit Nigeria, most of what is negatively reported about our country is picked up from our own domestic media first and foremost and about 75 per cent of all the things they hear about our country, is what they read about us on the internet and on media and so on. We also agreed that there is a need for the media, particularly and the government to come together to refocus our attention on the consequences of what we say, write on investment image of Nigeria. People want to come here but are often scared by the negative they read," he said.
On the micro economy, Chalker noted that it was good but however stressed on the need to remove fuel subsidy; saying that countries that have done so were doing great.
She also urged states that were yet to set up the one stop shop investment shop to do so, noting that only 12 of the 36 states in the country had done so. The essence, according to her was to easy investment processes.
She further added that Nigeria now has the best opportunity ever since she started working with the country for the past 26 years provided they are done transparently and are accountable.
She further stated that the Council noted that $60 billion investment has been made in the oil industry sector while $8 billion has been invested in the petrochemical sector and establishment of plant.
The minister of trade, Aganga on his part said the work of the investor council was beyond just attracting investors into the country, noting that information on the total amount of investment attracted so far by the council was not readily available.
He however said “but I can tell you the efforts of some of our members. The amount Lynda was quoting earlier was from Shell, that they have invested about $20 billion, but in addition to that we have people that have companies that are working in the petrochemical sector that are working with some Nigerians here to invest about $2 billion in the Petrochemical sector. We have another group coming from the Middle East that are going to invest in the free trade zones to put a whole petrochemical plant there and fertilizer plants and that is worth more than $6 billion and that is just the recent once.
“They do more than that. It is not just about bringing investments, they help with policies also. One of the members actually hosted the Nigeria Automotive Council involving all the share holders in the Automobile business on developing automobile business for the country. They do help with some of the strategic policies in addition to organization of investment meetings in their different countries.
“So, one has been instrumental in organizing an investment summit for us, another one is looking at something for us in Australia, another in Japan. The way we measure the impact is not just in monetary terms, we also look at the ability to share their experiences with us.”