Nigerian ministers in Washington shun meeting with investors, Emir Sanusi laments
The Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, has urged The Federal Government to reduce unnecessary bureaucracies and its lackadaisical attitude if it must succeed in bringing in the much needed foreign investments.
Lamido gave the advice on Saturday in Washington DC in an interview with newsmen after the US-Nigeria Investment summit at the Embassy of Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria had a strong economy and market that could make it an investment hub in Africa, but many investors had shied away from investing in Nigeria due to attitude of government officials.
According to him, in spite the fact that Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, an investor may decide not to invest in Nigeria due to unnecessary hassles.
“Nigeria may be the biggest economy, but an investor may decide that rather than go through the hassles of investing 500 million dollars in Nigeria, he may decide to invest 100 million dollars each in Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire South Africa and Rwanda.
“I will give you an example, we had a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start at 10.00 am, I got there early and I was taken to the Nigerian ambassador’s office to sit down.
“The investors were outside waiting for the meeting; that is not how to attract investors.
“Also, some top Nigerians were on the list to attend the meeting, such as the Vice President and some Ministers, but some of the ministers were in town, but they did not attend the meeting.
“The U.S Commerce Secretary and some top investors came for the meeting, but Nigerian ministers are in Washington, but they did not attend the meeting to speak with them on how to invest in Nigeria.
“I bet you that if the Rwandan embassy had this kind of forum, President Kagame himself will be there telling people to come to his country,” he said.
According to Sanusi, sometimes how Nigeria is being packaged and marketed will determine how investors take the government.
“There is absolutely no reason why the Nigerian embassy in the U.S will organise a business forum and Nigerian ministers and some governors that are in Washington will not turn out to meet investors.
“And there is no reason to start one hour late or the public address systems refused to work.
“This is the first point of entry for these investors; they haven’t even come to Nigeria, but they have started receiving all these experiences in DC that may discourage them to invest in Nigeria.
“They will also be thinking what will happen when I go to Abuja or Kano? How do I get to see the governor? Will I wait for 10 hours?
“And for these kind of people (investors) in DC, they have other heads of states, World Bank to meet and one hour is a lot of time for them to wait.
“ I think we need to look at all these scenarios that investors look at and have a very honest conversation, sector by sector, region by region, state by state, what do we need to do to make those areas attractive.”
Sanusi said with all these scenarios, investors were still interested in investing in the country’s agriculture, mining and technology and not only oil sector.
According to him, Nigeria has a chance of getting foreign investors to come and invest in areas that will help in diversifying the economy if they are well handled by professionals.
Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, the Founder of Oriental Energy, pledged to expand his investment in Nigeria and to encourage other investors both home and abroad to increase their businesses in Nigeria.
The 2018 US-Nigeria Investment Summit, tagged “Nigeria is Open for Business”, was to showcase some of the economically viable investment opportunities in Nigeria.
The emphasis was on getting the much needed private capital to achieve the investment projects listed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Some of the ministers billed to take part in the forum are the Ministers of Trade and Investment, Finance, Transportation, Agriculture, Science and Technology and also the Minister of state for Petroleum and the Central Bank Governor.
Most of the ministers were not at the meeting, except the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.