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Govt to review investment climate

By The Citizen
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The  Federal Government has initiated moves to review the country's investment policies to make it one of the most attractive economic frontiers globally.

For the review to be comprehensive and feasible, a taskforce to be guided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Growth and Employment in States (GEMS3)- a United Kingdom's Department For International Development (DFID)-funded programme, had been put in place.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, who inaugurated the taskforce in Abuja Monday, said the review would cover investment policy; investment promotion and facilitation; trade policy; competition policy; and corporate governance.

He said Africa was being regarded as the last investment frontier globally, adding that Nigeria remains a key player in terms of investment opportunities.

'For the first time, we have Nigeria in a different area where you can describe as the high growth and high return environment, compared to at least 75 per cent of other global economies.

'This means that we are in a very unique position to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

'However, the only thing that stands between us and taking advantage of this huge opportunity is having a well-coordinated and systematic investment policy,'' he said.

According to him, OECD and DFID were appointed to mid-wife the review in change order to the trend positively for the country.

Aganga said that the OECD and DFIC had a good track record that had been tested based on what they had done in 60 other countries.

The minister explained that the review, which would be done at both the national and state levels, would be used as a model, based on the successful implementation of the programme.

He said: 'For us in Nigeria, it is the first time ever that we will have a well-coordinated investment policy framework, which we have never ever had in the country.

'And because of the drive, for the first time, we have a well-coordinated policy between the federal and the state governments.

'OECD has done it in more than 60 countries at the national level but this is the first time that they are doing it at the sub-national level (state level).'

According to the minister, Lagos would be used as the hub for the scheme, which would become a model to the rest of the world.

Also, the Head, Investment Policy Review for Africa, OECD, Alexandre de Combrugghe, said that the organisation's decision to partner Nigeria was due to the growing investment interest in the country globally.

Combrugghe said the ongoing economic reforms embarked upon by the government had helped to strategically position the country as a major investment destination.

He said: 'Nigeria has a high economic growth rate. It is the largest market in Africa. Currently, Nigeria is carrying out major economic reforms.

'Nigeria is taking a leading role, not only in Africa, but also among emerging economies globally.

'There is a high momentum in terms of undertaking investment reforms in Nigeria.

'We believe that the policy framework that has been developed by OECD can really serve as a tool for fast-tracking the reform agenda for using trade and investment as a tool for economic growth as is the case in Nigeria,'  Combrugghe said.