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NIGERIA CAN UNLOCK ECONOMIC POTENTIALS THROUGH MAJOR REFORMS - OBG

By NBF News
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Nigeria's efforts to unlock its economic potential through major reforms will soon yield results. This was stated in a report published by the global publishing, research and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG), which marked it's third publication on the African state. The firm had began its information-gathering process at the 17th annual Nigerian Economic Summit in November.

The event was an ideal starting point as the discussions and presentations of Nigeria's most prominent public and private sector officials brought the country's key challenges to light.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a member of the group, highlighted the immediate need to diversify non-oil exports to mitigate the risk of unforeseen drops in national revenues as a result of instability in the world's commodity prices.

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed, in his contribution said that the rapid development the capital is undergoing and which is resulting into investment opportunities in areas such as infrastructure, telecom and transport.

The report is expected to contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for foreign investors, alongside a wide range of interviews with the most prominent political, economic and business leaders.

OBG's regional editor,, Robert Tashima said the Group's forthcoming report would explore the key role earmarked for the Economic Management Team set up by President Goodluck Jonathan as part of the administration's bid to drive forward policy reforms.

'The comparative advantages of the country are immense - a huge population, vast hydrocarbons wealth, large tracts of arable land and an increasingly healthy financial sector - but so too are the challenges. 'Electrical under supply and inadequate infrastructural maintenance, combined with a legacy of poor governance, have led Nigeria to consistently under perform, exacerbating unemployment and inequality,' he said.

According to him, indications that the administration was taking steps to address these issues could give impetus to Nigeria's plans for increasing investment.

'For those investors with a long-term horizon, Nigeria has always been a worthy destination, but the costs of entry into the market have long been discouragingly high,' he said. 'With the recent and pending reforms, the obstacles to doing business in Nigeria look set to drop while the amount of investment looks set to rise,' he added.

OBG has appointed Country Director Brooke Butler and Editorial Manager Rob Withagen to oversee the groundwork for The Report: Nigeria 2012.

Butler moves to Nigeria from the Philippines where she led OBG's most recent report on the country's economy. She has played a key role on a number of the Group's Southeast Asia projects, securing contributions from high-profile personalities including the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Abdul Razak and the Chief Minister of Sabah Musa Aman.

Butler said she was delighted to be leading OBG's team in Nigeria as the country's major projects take shape on the back of significant investment from the government and a drive to boost participation from the private sector.

'Our report comes at a pivotal point for Nigeria with the administration moving to bring about a return to sound macroeconomic fundamentals and forge closer links with major international economies,' she said.

'Healthy revenues from Nigeria's hydrocarbons industry, together with a move to enhance the country's business climate, should provide solid foundations for the expansion of the country's non-oil sector,' Withagen said

The Report: Nigeria 2012 is expected to be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

The report will be available in print or online.
Withagen joined OBG four years ago and has carved out a successful career in business journalism in Africa, covering countries such h as Algeria, Senegal, Gabon and Ghana.