Stakeholders agree FX supply, infrastructure fix will rekindle investor confidence – Businessday

Attracting foreign exchange inflow as well as addressing the infrastructure gap is seen as way forward to rekindle investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, economists and experts have said.

Stakeholders, including Ibukun Awosika, chairman, First Bank Nigeria Limited, Ike Chioke, group managing director/CEO, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Ayo Teriba, CEO, Economic Associates, Herbert Wigwe, group managing director/CEO, Access Bank plc, who was represented by Victor Etuokwu, executive director, Personal Banking Division Access Bank, Pat Utomi, founding senior faculty member, LBS, and Suleiman Abubakar, executive director/CFO, Sterling Bank plc, agreed on the need to encourage local and foreign investors but challenged the Nigerian leaders on the blueprint for investor confidence.

They spoke on the theme, “Searching for Investor Confidence” at the official launch of the Nigerian Banking Report 2016 by Afrinvest West Africa in Lagos, yesterday. “We need to attract back our Nigerian investors. The first group of investors we need to search for are Nigerian investors. To get Nigerian investors back, there is need for body language of Abuja to change,” Chioke said.

Teriba pointed out that making a distinction between local and foreign investors was very unhelpful for the economy, as the two do not compete but complement each other. He said rather the focus should be on investment that would attract foreign exchange and help fix infrastructure gap.
In his presentation, Chioke said rather than spend energy launching social programmes, the government urgently needs to commission a team of experts to layout a comprehensive economic blueprint for Nigeria within weeks.

According to him, this should be complemented by appointing a handful of individuals that have proven experience and credentials to implement such a plan. “President Buhari must then throw the full weight of his authority behind such individuals to enable them proactively take the necessary critical steps required to stem the current economic haemorrhage and reset Nigeria towards the path to growth. “Recent evidence from the currency market shows that the economy has suffered gravely from the feedback effect of reactionary and hesitant policy responses where the delayed decision to adopt a flexible exchange rate weakened investment confidence and deteriorated key macroeconomic variables. “Thus, to restore confidence in the system, the new economic team must have the capacity to advocate for pre-emptive and timely policy measures and insist on the proper co-ordination and alignment of such policies amongst both fiscal and monetary authorities.”