The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma on Thursday said that Nigerians might have to wait for another two years before seeing the impact of foreign investments in the country.
The minister made this statement in Bali, Indonesia at the launch of the Sub Sahara Africa Regional Economic Outlook.
Udoma said that it would take at least two years for the full manifestation of the investment potentials of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EPRG) of the Federal Government.
“I think it will take one or two years before they actually come to fruition.
“However, government has set up a crack team of four experts who were recruited to work with stakeholders in the private sector on ways to actually have the expected investors come in under the economic plan.
“The Nigerian government expects to attract private sector investments worth 22 billion dollars through the ERGP’s ‘Focused Laboratories’ within this period also,” he said.
The minister also said that the government, through the ERGP, hoped to create about 15 million jobs by 2020.
“We intend to achieve this principally through stimulating the private sector.
“Our aim is to make Nigeria a more investment-friendly place, a more attractive place for people to do business.
“We have conducted sector specific labs, which we referred to as the ERGP Focus Labs, to bring potential investors and government officials together to seek to remove the bottlenecks and impediments impeding investment projects.
“We identified over 22 billion dollars of potential investments which could be unlocked, if we can remove some of these impediments,” he said.
Udoma said that in Nigeria, the government was forced to cut down its growth projections for 2018 from three per cent to 2.1 per cent due to oil production challenges in the second quarter of 2018.
He said also that the flooding in some states affected the agriculture sector as did the herdsmen clashes in certain areas.
With regard to foreign investmens, Udoma agreed with the policy advice of the IMF that Nigeria needed to put in place sound macroeconomic policy management to mitigate risks associated with volatile capital flows.
Also, Mr Abebe Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department, while presenting the regional outlook, said Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic recovery was expected to continue growing.
He said that growth was projected to increase from 2.7 per cent in 2017 to 3.1 per cent in 2018 and 3.8 percent in 2019.
“Growth is set to improve most notably for oil exporters, while non-resource intensive countries continue to grow strongly, with quite a few growing at six per cent or more.”
“While there has been progress in narrowing fiscal deficits, more focus is needed to raise revenues to support continued development spending and to service debt,” he said.
According to the 2018 Sub-Sahara Africa Regional Economic Outlook, to grow, the region must create at least 20 million jobs per year to absorb new entrants into the labor market.
The IMF in the report advised the region to take policy actions to encourage deepening of trade and financial integration, in the context of the African Continental Free Trade.
It also advised the region to remove market distortions, improve the efficiency of public spending, promoting digital connectivity and a flexible education system and fostering an environment that is conducive to private investment and risk taking.