Nigeria is set for faster growth after its general election, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, and his Finance Ministry counterpart, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, at the weekend in Washington DC, assured.
At a high level business meeting with the US business community held under the auspices of the Corporate Council for Africa (CCA), Senator Udoma told investors that Nigeria was on the path of diversified inclusive growth; and President Muhammadu Buhari in his second term was focused on consolidation and further expansion of the investor-friendly policies of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
CCA is at the forefront of strengthening and facilitating the commercial relationship between the United States and the African continent.
The audience was made up of top America investors, some of them already doing business in Nigeria.
Fundamentals of the Nigerian economy are strong and the main indices are positive and growing, he told them; and “oil prices are stable and the convergence in foreign exchange windows has helped in reducing inflation and rebuilding external buffers. 2017 was better than 2016, just as 2018 was better than 2017, and 2019 will be even better,” he assured investors.
While indicating that the economy was projected to grow by 3.01% in 2019 with single digit inflation (9.98%), the Minister said Nigeria was focused on diversification of the economy in partnership with the private sector; explaining that with the development of Special Economic Zones, Nigeria intends to exploit the comparative advantages of the six geo-political zones and the 36 states by establishing six Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres across all 109 senatorial zones.
Government, he assured would continue to invest in infrastructure, particularly in power, roads, ports and rail, in partnership with the private sector.
He said government was encouraging Public Private Partnerships and tax incentives were also being provided to encourage the private sector to participate in the provision of public facilities, for instance the Executive Order 007 on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The businessmen were informed that efforts to improve infrastructure would be complemented by reforms to make it easier to do business with the aim of achieving a ranking of less than 100 in the World Bank’s ease of doing business survey.
Also Investments in Human capital, as well as Poverty Reduction initiatives, were being stepped up, he stated.
The Minister said implementation of the ERGP had restored growth in GDP.
Other macroeconomic indicators such as capital inflows, foreign reserves, trade balance, and Manufacturing Performance Managers Index (PMI), he said, had been showing improvements, while inflation had been trending down.
Government, he added, was focused on building a globally competitive economy as the ERGP sought to stimulate growth by leveraging the power of the private sector and allowing markets to function.
Also, “Government is committed to human capital development. Investments in the social investment programme are already yielding great results. Momentum is building up and we are moving in the right direction,” he added.
Government, he stressed, was committed to creating an enabling environment for investors wishing to do business by removing bottlenecks and easing bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.