A ROOM TO GROW OF ONE’S OWN

Nigeria 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Virtually every sector in the Nigerian economy, especially banking, agriculture, and entertainment, show great potential for growth with the right kind of guidance and targeted investments.

Yewande Sadiku
BIOGRAPHY

Yewande Sadiku has been Executive Secretary and CEO of NIPC since 2016. Until 2016, she was the executive director of Stanbic IBTC Group's corporate and investment banking business, where she managed key relationships with regulators and several of Nigeria's leading corporate and multinational clients. She was also chief executive of Stanbic IBTC's investment banking business. In her 23-year banking career, she has handled assignments for clients in virtually every sector of the Nigerian economy, providing financial advice on a variety of assignments, while ensuring strict legal and regulatory compliance.

How does NIPC view the current investment landscape? What initiatives is the commission taking to attract investment to Nigeria?
Although Nigeria has enjoyed 20 years of political stability, it went through a recession in 2016, from which it emerged cautiously in 2018. Numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics show Nigeria grew 2.27% in 2019, which is below the targets laid out in the national economic plan. Fortunately, the government understands that a great deal of work needs to be done to get to the level of growth appropriate for an economy of Nigeria's size. The first thing investors look for is the attractiveness of the business opportunity, where the size of Nigeria's economy, population, and resources are a natural draw. Then, they consider the business environment, which is a challenging area the government is taking seriously. In line with this, we prepared an online guide for investors, the advantage of which is that it is easy to update and can be easily translated into several languages (and currently available in over 100). We also have a newsletter that goes out six days a week that covers all the positive developments taking place in Nigeria. We want not only foreigners but also more Nigerians to invest in the country. We considered five parameters, on the basis of which we came up with 20 strategically important countries. Our ultimate objective is to invite targeted investors from these countries to invest in Nigeria on the basis of the work and research we have done. In 2017, we put together a compendium of investment incentives to help investors understand the incentives to investing in Nigeria. We also looked at the federal government's investment treaty regime and Nigeria's investment agreements with other countries. We reviewed them and came up with recommendations on a country-by-country basis. We are also working on a number of sector profiles for the NIPC website that are part of our growing collection of investment profiles for all the different sectors in Nigeria.

What sectors will continue growing in the years to come?
Every sector in Nigeria has potential for growth because no single sector has developed to an extent that there are no further prospects for growth. The banking sector is one of the most sophisticated in Nigeria, and even in that sector there are pockets of growth. A large percentage of Nigerians is still unbanked, which explains why the fintech sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. The agriculture sector represents 23% of Nigeria's GDP, but a great deal can be done to further deepen it. One of the biggest challenges facing the sector is high post-harvest losses, which can be over 50% for some crops. We need to invest more in the preservation and processing of crops so that more Nigerians can eat what we produce. As for the creative and service industries, Nigeria has made a name for itself across the continent and beyond as Nigerian films and music continue to gain more popularity. The wealth of Nigeria's history and culture means there are several prospects for growth in these sectors.

How can the PPP model facilitate investment in Nigeria?
This model is necessary for the investor inflow we need, especially in infrastructure and public services. If you look at the government budget and available resources, it is clear there is not enough funding capacity from the government to drive the development of several sectors. This is where the PPP model comes in. It has worked in several markets, and it can be successful in Nigeria, too. So far, the best example of a PPP in Nigeria is Nigeria LNG Limited, which is the biggest corporate revenue generator for the government and demonstrates the endless possibilities on the horizon if we can get the PPP model right.