Nigeria is now the best Country to invest in Africa, according to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for Economy and Minister of Finance.
Nigeria's Minister of Finance made the announcement today while receiving a group of British investors led by Sir Roger Gifford, the Lord Mayor of the City of London in her office.
An official statement credited to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and released by the Federal Ministry of Finance, said "with a foreign reserve of nearly 50 billion dollars, a stable exchange rate, strong banking sector as well as massive human and natural resources, Nigeria has indeed become one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world."
Speaking to the Investors who are in Nigeria to explore investment opportunities in the country, Dr. Iweala said Nigeria currently was the largest economy in West Africa, second largest in Africa with potential to become the largest African economy in the next five years.
"With a foreign reserve of nearly $50 billion dollars, a stable exchange rate, strong banking sector, massive human and natural resources, Nigeria has indeed become one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world", the Finance Minister said.
Other incentives listed by the Finance Minister include: nearly $50 bn dollars ( about £30bn Pounds).
- Strong Foreign Exchange Reserve.
- Serious re-modelling of the Nigeria’s airports to meet with international aviation standards.
- Clean and strong banking sector
- Fall in Inflation Rate. Now down to 8.6%
- Ongoing and cointinuing reforms, in various sectors to to meet up with the goal of ranking among the eight strongest economies in the world, "in no distant time."
- Priority attention to agriculture and entertainment due to their capacity to create jobs.
- On going efforts to revive the rail section with partnership and help from China.
- An almost complete privatization programme to reduce government involvement in organisations to regulatory role.
- construction and rehabilitation of roads for easy movement of people, goods and services.
- A Transformation Agenda to diversify the economy from sole dependence on oil as a source of income.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria's power problem will soon be a thing of the past because government has taken a bold step to privatise the power sector.
Responding to a question by the Lord Mayor of London, on the time-frame for the complete privatization of the power sector, Dr. Okonjo'Iweala said all bottlenecks to the privatization process had been removed and as a result Nigeria was more positive that it will be achieved sooner than thought.
With respect to debt management, the Minister said that due to past experiences, Nigeria is now allergic to borrowing, has reduced her domestic debt to 19% and external debt to 2%.
The Coordinating Minister of Nigeria's economy made a strong case for foreign investment, saying Nigeria had become safe and sound and that potential investors stood to enjoy good return on their investment.
She urged them to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities Nigeria offers.
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