By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
A national policy analyst and economic management specialist, Dr. Chris Osi Itsede, has said that the federal government must develop the country’s business to attract investors.
Dr. Itsede stated this yesterday while addressing journalists in Abuja.
He cautioned that Nigeria’s rigid business environment has continued to discourage foreign and local investors from bringing money into the country and requires to be properly restructured to attract sufficient development that would move the country forward.
Dr. Itsede, who was a former Director at the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], said by comparison, Egypt, South Africa and many smaller
developing countries have better ease of doing business quotient and enhanced regulatory environment than the country with the result that serious foreign investors divert investment capital to such places instead of coming to Nigeria.
“I think the business climate in Nigeria has been nose-diving for a very long time as a result of inability of the leadership, past and present, to squarely face the realities of the nation. Although, the present administration tried to solve the problems in some areas but we still have enormous imbalances and impediments in conducting business activities in the country and nothing has happened yet to give us hope of a healthier business environment because the main impediments are still there.
“We still have a long way to go. For example, we have serious issues at our arrival points such as the immigration, the customs and the airports which are the first line of contact for the international community. We must improve the areas of international tourism if we want to be taken serious as a nation. Any serious administration should make it a major programme that it would embark upon in its drive for foreign investment because these are some of the key elements involved in the ease of doing business that members of the international community would look at before deciding whether or not to invest in any country. I am not only talking about key infrastructure but also the other elements of development that drive business.”
While accessing the performance of the regulatory bodies set up by government for the various sectors of the economy, the analyst said “Nigeria has the most confusing crude regulatory environment in the region. The people who are at the helm of affairs in many of these agencies need complete mental and behavioural re-orientation to enable them perform their assigned functions better. Many of our regulatory agencies are controlled by the same operators who would not want the economy to improve or grow so that they can continue importing finished goods from abroad. It is even sad that chief executives of regulatory agencies are seen consorting or hobnobbing in private jets with directors of the agencies they are supposed to regulate or supervise”.