Nigeria’s Vice President Says Investor Interest `Remains Strong’
By: | Oct 09 2017 at 01:25 PM | International Trade
Investment flowing into Nigeria “remains strong” as the economy of the West African nation recovers from its worst slump in 25 years, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said. In the first eight months of this year, 41 planned investment projects were recorded in 22 of its 36 states, with an estimated value of $20 billion, Osinbajo said at a Financial Times conference in London on Monday. Lagos state, which includes Nigeria’s commercial hub, is planning a 3,000-megawatt power plant, he said. In the “next few months, we will focus on opening up the economy for more private-sector participation in the power sector and agricultural value chain,” Osinbajo said. “One of the key things for us is ensuring that the private sector takes the lead and brings in their capital.” Nigeria is looking to plug a 2017 budget deficit that it forecast at 2.3 trillion naira ($6.4 billion), or 2.2 percent of GDP, following a revenue shortfall caused by the decline of the output and price of oil, its main export. The government wants to spend one-third of this year’s budget on building new roads, rail, ports and power facilities to help the economy recover after it shrunk by 1.6 percent last year, the worst such performance since 1991. The economy will probably expand by 0.8 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, as the oil sector improves and the central bank eases foreign-exchange restrictions introduced in the wake of shortages in 2015. A new currency-trading window was created for portfolio investors and importers where foreign currencies can be bought at market-determined rates. “Capital importations have doubled in the last four months,” evidence that the currency policy is working, Osinbajo said.