MINA Blog- The Chief Executives of leading corporate organizations in Nigeria are attending the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris with President Muhammadu Buhari where they made presentations on the immense potentials in the country with the coming into effect of African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Some of the highlights of the views of BUA, Oando, Zenith Bank, FirstBank, BoI chiefs include that Nigeria;
* Sitting on billions of tons of different mineral resources including 45 billion tons of limestones
* Enormous opportunities in commercial agriculture
* One of 12 countries in the world with large deposit of iron ore, gas and coal
*If you are not in Nigeria, you are not in Africa
* In addition to large population and market, there are skills and opportunities in Nigeria
* CBN doing a great job in the area of regulations
*With BVN, the banking sector has entered the digital economy
*Quick deployment of the 5G will revolutionise every sector and leapfrog the economy.
* Nigeria is the most attractive destination for investment in Africa
BUA GROUP- ALHAJI ABDUL-SAMAD RABIU
Alhaji Abdul-Samad Rabiu, a Nigerian business mogul, says it is cheaper to transport a container from China to Lagos than to transport same from Lagos to Kano.
Rabiu, the Chairman and CEO of BUA Group, disclosed this in Paris while speaking on the enormous opportunities to invest in the Nigerian transportation system, particularly the rail sector.
Cargo containers are transported from China and other countries through the sea while moving the container to the far North and other parts of the country is by road transportation.
Rabiu however commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for priotising the building of railways across the nation and called on global financiers and private investors to invest in the sector.
He said there were also enormous opportunities in commercial agriculture with large arable land in the country as well as mining and manufacturing.
According to him, Nigeria is sitting on billions of tons of different mineral resources including limestone which his company is well known for in the production of cement.
“Nigeria is sitting on 45 billion tons of limestones and presently all the cement factories in the country combined are producing 30 million tons of cement daily.
“We are able to produce for local consumption and also for export.
“One of my plants in Sokoto is exporting cement to Niger Republic which is about 120km to the plant and also to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which is about 400km away from Sokoto,” he said.
Rabiu also disclosed that Nigeria is one of 12 countries in the world that have large deposit of iron ore, gas and coal, but unfortunately the country is importing steel
“We spend N2.5 billion dollars annually importing steel to Nigeria.
“With 2.5 billion dollar, we should be able to set up a plant that can produce steel of 1.5 to 2 million tons per annum,” he said
OANDO GROUP- ADEWALE TINUBU
Speaking in the same vein, Adewale Tinubu, the CEO of Oando Group, said “as an investor, the reality is that if you are not in Nigeria, you are not in Africa”.
He said in addition to large population and market, there are skills and opportunities in Nigeria and potential investors should be part of the revolution.
Tinubu said Public-Private-Partnership had been successful in many sectors in Nigeria where the government created an enabling environment to allow entrepreneurs to step in and explore the opportunities.
He gave the example of the cement subsector, where because of the enabling environment created by government, Nigeria moved from net importer of cement to net exporter of the same product within seven years
“Seven years ago Nigeria was a net importer of cement when companies were shipping cement from Europe to dump in Nigeria.
“But, within the short period we convert the large limestone deposit in the country to a huge manufacturing sites.”
Tinubu also recalled that when he started Oando, foreign companies, including Total, Agip, Unipetrol and others, dominated the downstream marketing of the oil sector.
“Today, apart from Total some of these companies are either divesting or being taken over by indigenous investors.
“Today, we have many indigenous companies that have grown double of the sizes of the companies that earlier dominated the market,” he said.
Tinubu, however, underscored the need to invest in power infrastructure.
He said South Africa with about 50 million people consume 45,000mw of power while Nigeria with over 209 million population consume only 6000mw of power.
ZENITH BANK- JIM OVIA
For his part, Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, said Nigerian banks are stable, strong, solid and ready to support investors.
Ovia said the secret behind the stability of the nation’s banking sector was because the Central Bank of Nigeria was doing a great job in the area of regulations.
He said with the advent of BVN, the banking sector has entered the digital economy and it has made it easier for investors to track their investment and transactions giving less chances to fraud.
Ovia stressed the need for a quick deployment of the 5-G network technology on the ground that it would revolutionise every sector and leapfrog the economy.
FIRSTBANK- DR ADESOLA ADEDUNTAN
With population in excess of 200 million and access to market across the continent, Nigeria is the most attractive destination for investment in Africa, economic experts say.
The CEOs of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Dr Adesola Adeduntan and Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Olukayode Pitan, stated this respectively at a Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris.
Presenting a paper at the forum, Adeduntan said with the coming into effect of African Continental Free Trade Agreement, investing in Nigeria would give access to market across Africa.
He said with GDP of about 500 billion dollars and the projection that Nigerian population would grow from more than 200 million to 450 million people by 2050, the country was an investors’ haven.
Besides, the banker said there is abundance of natural resources, hydrocarbon and other solid minerals deposits in the country.
“Last year, Nigeria recorded the best stock exchange in terms of performance.
“Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, was ranked as the best city for technology starts up of the continent, boasting of three of the world known telecoms in the continent.
“Nigeria also attracted about 39 per cent of the venture capital investments that came to the continent in 2020,” Adeduntan said.
He noted that agriculture contributed 24 per cent to the GDP and engaged 36 per cent of the labour force in the country thereby
“Using a back of the envelope calculation, if every Nigerian spends the sum of N500 daily on food, we are looking at the food sector running into trillions of naira.
“The government by way of fiscal policies, has also enacted several policies that are creating enabling environment to attract investments in agriculture.
“There is also a renewed focus on industrialisation, and the whole essence is that we are building Nigeria to become the hub for manufacturers in the sub-region (West Africa),” he said
Adeduntan said Nigeria had recorded significant growth in the Ease of Doing Business and there are potential for investment in the ICT sector.
He said government had created some financial institutions that are essentially geared towards providing long term financing to aid foreign and indigenous investors..
The institutions according to him, include Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
BOI- MR OLUKAYODE PITAN
Speaking in the same vein, Pitan, the BoI Managing Director, said on the average, Africa imported about 594 billion Dollar worth of goods and 152 billion dollars in services.
Breaking it down, he said African countries imported about 138 billion dollars of refined petroleum products, 1.7 billion dollars of crude oil, and 18 billion dollars of plastics.
He added that 28 billion dollars of iron and steel, 12 billion dollars of textile, 6.9 billion dollars of sugar, 6.7 billion dollars of rice, 5.7 billion dollars of robber and oil palm respectively.
The banker said Nigeria, being the biggest market in Africa, any smart businessman should look at any of the areas to invest, using Nigeria as the base.
“The BOI is the oldest policy bank with 52 years experience, and it is there to support investors who are ready to establish in the country,” he said.
According to Pitan, the Bank lends money to investors on long term basis with eight to nine per cent interest.