Pantami, Emefiele Woo French Investors, Flaunts Nigeria as largest economy in Africa

TECHDIGEST – The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele and Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy recently described Nigeria as attractive investment destination at the Paris peace forum in France

The CBN governor said Nigeria has the largest economy and population in Africa, and it is being projected to be the third-largest population in the world by 2050.

“If you think about investing in Africa, Africa holds the best frontier for development in the world today, and your yield from investments today is the highest in Africa,” Emefiele said.

People are saying Nigeria should take the lead. I am saying to you the foreign investors if you think about Africa for the opportunity and investment, you don’t have a choice you will have to look at Nigeria.

“Nigeria has the largest economy and population in Africa, and it is being projected to be the third-largest population in the world by 2050 — if you do think about investing in Africa — join us in developing Nigeria and Africa continent.”

He said the CBN had projected that the economy would grow by about 2.9 percent in 2021 as oil prices surge in the global market.

“And the possible outlook is due to the high oil price which today is above $80 per barrel, the implementation of the economic sustainability plan which was put in place during the period of the pandemic and a rebound in our manufacturing activities and economic activities in Nigeria,” he said.

He also said that the country’s inflation which was “as high as 18.17% during the pandemic” and is “about 16.6% today” should be able to moderate to about “15.35% by December 2021 and further down to about 14.91% by February 2022.”

On FG’s diversification plan, Emefiele said that the present administration is providing access for players in the manufacturing industry to access loans with single interest.

Before the president came on board in 2015, a couple of our textile industries, some of our manufacturing industries due to certain challenges they faced in the economy closed down,” he added.

“We are now looking forward to making sure that we reposition and reopen these industries again.

“We are making granting of credit easy for these industries so that they can embrace and attract cheap credit, long term credit and I can say in a long time in the history of the financial system in Nigeria, manufacturing sectors can access credit at single digit interest rate of no more than 9%.”

He said the Dangote refinery would help conserve foreign exchange, save the cost of logistics and transportation — and the price of petroleum products in Nigeria can be more competitive and more affordable for Nigerians.

In his own remarks at the forum, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, said the national identification number (NIN) will become the foundation of Nigeria’s security.

He said the federal government intends to establish the country’s security foundation on NIN to ensure that the identity of citizens and legal residents who log into the internet is known.

“Some of these initiatives that happen to be the foundation of even our economy is the introduction of the national identification number. Nigeria has joined the global community by making the use of national identification numbers for both citizens and legal residents mandatory,” he said.

“This is going to be the foundation of our economy and also the foundation of our security that whoever happens to go online, his identity will be known by the federal government and also by our security institution.

“As in our constitution 1999 as amended section 14(2)(b), that the primary responsibility of government is security and safety of its citizens, it is because of this that President Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate about that and he has been pushing that we establish the foundation of our economy and the foundation of our security on the national identification number so that identity of our citizens and legal residents will be known,

“As it is today, the enrollment has been over 67 million and most importantly we are able to capture the most important category of people that come out to do businesses.”

He added that NIN has now become a prerequisite to enjoying government services and so potential investors should have “peace of mind” doing business in Nigeria.

He assured investors of the government’s efforts in making Nigeria more secure, saying the country will soon deploy robotics to improve on its cybersecurity.

“So it becomes a prerequisite to enjoying government services and I believe this will bring more peace of mind to potential investors to know that the government has been doing something significant in that regard,” he said

“Recently the country has also launched and commissioned a national center for artificial intelligence and robotics that focuses more on research and coming up with innovative solutions in the area of security and now the center in collaboration with security institutions is in the process of developing robots and many more that are going to be deployed to make our country safe and sound.”

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