By Franklin Ocheneyi
The Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, says Nigeria can revive its dead industries through the supply of free gas to industrial estates across the country.
Duke, who was the guest speaker at the November Breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), tagged ‘Foreign Direct Investment as a Catalyst for Development’ said that the so much talked about the ease of doing business can only be achieved if sufficient energy can get to Nigerian homes and industries.
“We have gas in Nigeria and it is being flared. We need the gas, let gas be our subsidy to industry; give it free instead of flaring it. It is going to reawaken dead factories and gets production going.
“We need to sell this country to other parts of the world. It is not just enough to say we are now re-injecting the gas; we have got to do a lot more because it is important to make Nigeria attractive for investors to come and invest here. 90 percent of investors will require power, so we really need to look into energy,” he said.
According to him, it is going to take a long time for the distribution companies, DISCOs and the generation companies, GENCOs to meet up with the country’s power requirements.
“There is need to have industrial parks and to link all of them together to be able to deliver enough power,” he said.
The National President of NACC, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, also said that the country has a lot to do in attracting FDI.
“FDI comprises not only merger and acquisition and new investment, but also reinvested earnings and loans and similar capital transfer between parent companies and their affiliates. FDI remains the most important element in the economic development programme of Nigeria”
“We have had a lot of it before. In 2012 to 2014 Nigeria received the highest share of FDI inflow in Africa. Perhaps it was a coincidence that the upsurge came immediately after the re-basing of our economy in 2013 when the country’s GDP was then said to have reached $501 billion. Until then, South Africa was regarded as the largest economy. Foreign Investors came in droves to examine opportunities in every sector-mostly agriculture, power generation, housing and food processing. The vast potentials they saw are still in evidence. But, interests have waned. The question is what happened?” he said.
He answered: “Nigeria is believed to be a high-risk market for investment although blessed with enormous mineral and human resources.”