By Oluyinka Onigbinde
Investigation carried out by Nigerian NewsDirect has revealed that over N200 billion is lost annually due to poor state of roads in the country and unfriendly policies of the government. This amidst other challenges has been a major factor why foreign investors are scared of investing in the country despite the executive order on ease of doing business initiative, with the aim of attracting foreign investors into the country.
Poor implementation of government policies, comatose state of the nation’s roads, obsolete infrastructure and corruption have been Identified as the major reasons foreign investors shun the country for other neighbouring nations.
The Director, Research and Advocacy Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Vincent Nwani said despite Nigeria being an attractive market destination, non implementation of government policies, bad roads network, corruption among others have always been the bedrock while foreign investors prefer neighbouring nations to Nigeria.
According to him “Nigeria has always remained an attractive market to both domestic and foreign investors due to population base, consumption per time and because of profitability.
“One of the factors preventing foreign funds from flowing into critical sector in the country is Nigeria’s policies and lack of infrastructure.
This includes Policy direction, poor implementation of policies to invest in infrastructure be it road be it power or rail which is very important. Also, we need to do something about our public private partnership (PPP), up until now we cannot pinpoint a successful public private partnership in the country.
“Also you will discover that nothing has changed despite government’s initiative on ease of doing business initiative. “There has been refusal to implement this ease of doing business initiative. We have been to the sea ports, airports and also some other places but very little has been achieved as regards the ease of doing business initiative.
“There has been a lot of resistance, bureaucracy, lack of transparency and corruption amidst the government sector which has hindered some of the government’s policies on ease of doing business.
He said:, “So, for us to drive foreign investors into the country, then we must do things right”.
For the most part of the last 18 years of Nigeria’s democracy, there has been near collapse of infrastructure. The development has been so bad that most businesses groan under intense pain due to rise in overhead cost incurred in providing alternative infrastructure like road. In fact, bad road network has become an albatross to the nation’s investors and companies.
Roads leading to major industrial centres in the country such as Sango-Ota in Ogun State and Apapa have been left in comatose to the detriment of foreign and indigenous company to repair.
You will recall that recently Dangote group was given the permission to repair the roads leading to the Apapa port which is the economy hub of the country; with over N1 billion spent to fix the road after several appeals to the Federal Government to fix all roads that lead to the port.
Also roads leading to the Agbara industrial estate have also been left in comatose with billions of naira lost yearly to these roads.
Dunlop Nigeria Plc., the only surviving tyre manufacturing company in Nigeria then, shut down its plants and sacked its workers before relocating to Ghana due to lack of infrastructure and bad government policies Michelin also relocated to the Ashanti land.
Recently an Indian company in Ogun state laid off no fewer than 700 workers with allegations that the firm was relocating to a neighbouring country.
Also in a recent chat with an indigenous investor who pleaded anonymity, he decried the sorry state of infrastructure in the country as the major reason why Nigeria had not and would not attract foreign investment if government refused to do something.
“To be candid, I must confess that with the sorry state of our roads and lack of quality infrastructure, we will continue to strive hard to attract foreign investors
More so I am a business man and if it were possible for me to relocate my company outside this country I will do, because you can’t imagine how much we are losing daily. “But also looking at the chunk of workers that will be thrown into the labour market after relocating is what is still compelling some of us to stay
“So, government must do their best in ensuring that adequate infrastructure is put in place that will help local manufacturers to remain in business because when local manufacturers are closing shops how do you intend to attract foreign investors.