Participants in the 14th Honorary International Investors’ Council (HIIC) Friday rose from their two-day meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, calling on the Nigerian government to sustain investment in building the physical infrastructure of the economy such as power generation and transmission, roads, rail and airports in order to enhance the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s business environment.
The HIIC is an organization of prominent investors from around the world that advises the Nigerian government on matters pertaining to the country’s economic development.
The council’s goals include reducing political corruption, helping Nigeria to become Africa’s biggest oil producer, attracting investment in the country from the private sector and from foreign countries, and making Nigeria more competitive in the global economy.
The Council not only reviewed the state of the Nigerian economy through presentations made by Council Members and the Economic Ministers, it also offered suggestions on how to sustain the delivery of good governance, improve national and international perception, and increase private participation in the re-engineering of the economy.
On oil and gas, it urged the government to review gas pricing to make it globally competitive but noted the huge potential of the Nigerian economy in gas and efforts by government at enhancing capacity for exploitation to promote industrialization.
It resolved to support the Nigerian government in tackling the challenge of oil theft, pledging further commitment to offer help in getting international engagement to stop the crime and attendant environmental degradation.
On corruption, the Council noted the commitment of government in fighting corruption through the numerous programmes that have enhanced transparency in governance and plugged loopholes in the financial system which had hitherto facilitated financial crimes;
It said that government had considerably improved the security situation in the Northern part of the country, and disclosed that it looked forward to the timely restoration of normalcy in the region, in order to improve the country’s image internationally;
HIIC commended government government on the efficient management of the 2012 flood disaster without experiencing food crisis.
It, however, observed the growing unemployment rate and the rising number of poor skilled workforce which was associated with the poor state of the educational system, urging the Federal Government to improve on its synergy with the other tiers of government and the industry in order to build basic education geared towards enhancing capacity of the workforce for industrialization of the economy;
The Council urged government to proactively sell positive story about Nigeria to the international audience through the media for the purpose of enhancing the image of the country as the preferred investment destination in Africa
It noted the increasing interest shown by international investing community on the Nigerian economy — an indication of the improved perception and confidence of the international community on the management of the Nigerian economy.
The two-day meeting was attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the Coordinator of the Council, Baroness Lynda Chalker, the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, and 10 members of the Council — Alec Erwin, Olivier Suinat, Haruki Hayashi, Guillaume Roux, Jim Ovia, Jacques Maraud des Grottes, Andrew Brown, Emmanuel Ijewere, David Haworth, Femi Otedola, Aliko Dangote, Umar Mutallab, Simon Harford, Sam Jonah