United States High Commission Consul-General, F. John Bray has raised an alarm over threat to American businesses in Nigeria worth $1.3 billion.
The Consul-General who was speaking at a forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), listed instability in the exchange rate, policy inconsistency, poor electricity, dearth of infrastructure, regulatory and security issues as major challenges American investors in Nigeria are facing. Bray lamented that American investors have issues with how policies are made and changed, noting that it has the capacity to discourage investors into the country.
He cited regulatory issues, such as the one involving MTN, which had led to the directive for the telco to return cash allegedly ferried out of the country without recourse to laid down procedures. He further noted that such an incident has the capacity to discourage any investor as there seems not to be a clear-cut obedience to rule of law to protect investors.
Also speaking at the forum, Ms. Laure Beaufil, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, revealed that out of the £400 million United Kingdom investment in Africa, Nigeria has a large chunk of it but regretted that UK investors are sometimes confused as to the risks inherent in investing in the country and how to mitigate them.
There is a growing concern that foreign investors’ investment into the country has taken a dip. Last week the CBN in a statement revealed that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria fell to N379.84 billion ($1.2 billion) in the first half of the year from N532.63 billion ($1.7 billion) a year earlier. It also announced that two global banks HSBC and UBS have shut offices in Nigeria.