The Group Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Tony Elumelu has expressed deep sadness over the movement of investments by huge conglomerates from Nigeria to neighbouring Ghana.
He stated this on Wednesday when he featured on The Morning Show on ARISE News, and noted that while Nigeria boasts of a huge market, the macro-economic environment of the West African country must improve.
Mr Elumelu highlighted some of the concerns expressed by the companies to include the worsening insecurity in the country but noted that as a private investor he advertises the country through the investments.
“My heart bleeds when you see conglomerates moving their investments or quarters from Nigeria to Ghana,” Mr Elumelu said.
“Nigeria is a huge market and honestly the macro-economic environment must begin to improve, the concern most of them have is security challenges we have in the country.
“For us as private sector, the best way we sell our country is through the investments that we make. When I go out and people say that in Nigeria things are bad, I say to them that the glass is half full, there is nowhere else you get the kind of returns on investment as what you get here in Nigeria and I speak as an investor in Nigeria, as an investor in Africa and other parts of the world.
“The truth is that we just need to be totally aware of the trend of people moving out of the country to invest or relocate to smaller economies. For us in the private sector, when we invest in Nigeria, it tells our friends outside the country that we are not stupid, we are making economic investment decisions and there are economic opportunities in Nigeria.
“Ultimately, the ease of doing business must improve for the country to attract and retain investments. Doll Capital is looking for investment destination and they will go to where they are most welcome and the aspiration of all of us is to make sure that Nigeria is seen as that place where private capital should settle and all of us must play our own role in making this a reality.”
Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Investment recently via his Twitter account announced plans by Hyundai and Kia to open automotive plants in the West African country by 2022.
Much as Nigerians are quick to bemoan the choice of Ghana over Nigeria, it appears many are still sore about Twitter’s choice to set up an African headquarters in Ghana.
Economic analysts however observe that the reasons for conglomerates setting up businesses outside Nigerian shores are many and equally cogent. They say Nigeria currently has challenges bordering on insecurity which have made investors sceptical of their ability to generate substantial returns on any investments.
Nigeria also has a visible infrastructure deficiency and can be clearly seen in areas such as road networks, power generation and healthcare.
Many manufacturers are forced to source alternative sources of power to sustain their operations due to the country’s power challenges thus leading to an increase in the cost of their products.
Conversely, if this were to be tackled, it would result in lower costs of production, enabling businesses to sell their products at lower prices while passing savings on to the customer.
By Abel Ejikeme