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Tunde Lemo: Infrastructure decay, insecurity driving away investors from Nigeria

Tunde Lemo: Infrastructure decay, insecurity driving away investors from Nigeria
October 05
11:19 2021

Tunde Lemo, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chairman of Flutterwave, says Ghana has upstaged Nigeria as an attractive destination for foreign investors.

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Lemo said this on Monday when he featured on Business Morning, a programme on Channels Television.

He listed infrastructure decay, insecurity, poor ease of doing business as factors why foreign investors opt for Ghana, Egypt and Kenya instead of Nigeria. 

“Our infrastructure is in decay, it is seriously impacted. Look at the textile industry for instance. When we had independence, the first 10 years, the Chinese and the Indians came here and set up textile companies,” Lemo said.

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“At the peak, we had over 170 textile companies, but today, all of them have folded up, only six or seven are in operation, albeit marginally.

“The reason is that the infrastructure in those climes is much better than what we have now. So, we need to free up resources beyond what the government can do, and then harvest all of these and put aggressively revamping our infrastructure.

“Let’s take ease of doing business, for instance, we have improved by one or two notches, but again are we as competitive as our comparators in Africa? Look at Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya, I believe we are still far behind.

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“Some of the regional economic activities that are happening, you will be surprised that even Ghana is a better destination for foreign investors than Nigeria.

“Yes, we (Nigeria) pride in saying we have improved on ease of doing business, but if you are improving from number 90 something to number 70 something and our peers are on number 4, 5, 6, then you know that we still have a long way to go.

“We need to ensure that the public sector units and agencies that are involved become much more efficient. Let look at the best three countries in Africa and give ourselves a target.”

According to Lemo, the global economy is becoming more competitive as everybody is trying to improve efficiency to access global capital.

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“Apart from that, the government needs to work more on the security of lives and property,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had it so rough in the past two years and I want to appeal to political authorities. Let’s have a bi-partisan approach; let’s all sit down and see what we can do.

“Today, the entire Middle Belt is becoming problematic, and this is the Belt that produces food, no wonder we have food inflation that is around 21 percent.

“All the things underpinning a stable macroeconomic environment which is monetary stability, responsible fiscal financing and so on are the areas we need to work upon so that we can create the right economic environment.”

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