Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, said on Thursday that Nigeria’s domestic investment grew by 46 per cent in 2011.
Mr. Aganga presented the national internal investment profile in Abuja at the inauguration of the World Bank’s Investment Climate Assessment (ICA) report.
He said that the investment dividends based on the ICA assessment of investment climate in 26 states of the federation was through the Federal Government effort.
Mr. Aganga, who spoke on “Reforming the Nigeria’s Investment Climate,” said that Nigeria remains the preferred investment destination in Africa.
“The performance of Nigeria on the recent report issued by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) about the global investment flow across the world indicated that investment flow globally has increased by 16 per cent.
“It said that the flow to Africa has come down by one or two per cent because of the war in Egypt, Libya and the others.
“But what is important to us is that the investment flow to Nigeria has gone up by 46 per cent to N8.9 billion,’’ he said.
According to him, in spite of all the challenges of doing business in Nigeria, the country in the period under review, came third in terms of the level of investments attracted.
“If you look at debt to GDP ratio, it’s under 20 per cent, the average in Europe is 88 per cent, the average in the world is 87.6 per cent, the united states and some others are more than 100 per cent.
“So for an economy to attract investment, you have to have an average macro-economic environment and Nigeria in overall has the average macro-economic environment,’’ he said.
He assured Nigerians of government’s commitment in ensuring an enabling environment that would facilitate the influx of investors into the country.
Earlier, Francoise Marie-Nelly, the Country Director of World Bank, Nigeria, said the ICA is one of the important areas to improve on competitiveness and job creation.
She urged the Federal Government to address the operational constraints affecting the smooth running of small and medium businesses in the country.
Ms. Marie-Nelly identified the constraints as poor power supply, lack of access to credit and gender related issues.
“We have the potentials to improve on the situation; the ICA report is indeed looking at 26 states and focused on 10 critical indicators.
“This presentation is not an ordinary presentation but just to see what we can do to address the competitive issues,’’ she said.
Michael Wong, the World Bank Lead Sector Development Specialist, said that the investment assessment covers labour, productivity, cost, over-value, wages and workforce.
He said that the difficult operating environment made Nigeria to be ranked below Kenya, Uganda and Malaysia in some of the areas.
Mr. Wong identified power as the major constraint limiting investment in the country, adding that most small and medium scale businesses find it difficult to cope.
Other constraints, he said, are poor access to finance, cost to finance, tax administration system, transportation and difficulty in accessing land.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, in his goodwill message, urged state government to create the enabling environment for investors.