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NIGERIA’S PROFILE

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NIGERIA’S PROFILE

Nigeria, with an estimated population of 170 million, is the largest country in Africa and one-sixth of the black population in the world.  It is the world’s eighth largest oil producer and holds the sixth largest deposit of natural gas in the world.   It is highly remarkable that the country is endowed with the basic human capital required to drive real growth and development.   Regrettably, Nigeria’s abundant solid minerals deposits have remained largely untapped, leaving it at the mercy of developed economies for survival.

  • Official Name: Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • Capital: Abuja
  • Nationality: Nigerian
  • National Date: 1st October (Independence Day)
  • Location: On the West Coast of Africa, in the tropics, between latitudes 40 and 140 North of the equator, and longitudes 30 and 140 East of the Greenwich meridian
  • Land Mass: 923,768 square kilometers
  • Boundaries: On the West by the Republic of Benin and Cameroun to the East; the Gulf of Guinea to the South; and Chad Republic to the North
  • Population: 170 million people, making it the largest black nation in the world.  250 ethnic groups, speaking over 4,000 languages and dialects.  The ethnic groups have diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.  About 39% of the population lives in the urban areas.
  • Human Resources: The country boasts of the highest pool of highly educated and trained manpower in Africa. This is in addition to its large population, which offers the largest market for investors in Africa.
  • Political system: Nigeria is a Federation of thirty-six States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.  It operates a presidential system of Government with a National Assembly comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The country also runs a three-tier system of Government, namely the Federal, State and Local Councils.
  • Climate:Nigeria has two well-defined seasons namely: the rainy season (April – October) and dry season (November – March). Temperatures are higher in the North while fairly lower in the South.
  • Official Language:English
  • Currency:Naira
  • Head of State and Government: President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
  • Legislative Branch:The National Assembly is a bi-cameral Assembly. The upper house (Senate) has 109 members while the lower house (House of Representatives) has 360 members
  • The Judiciary: The Supreme Court is headed by the Chief Justice of the Federation.  There is an Appeal Court and the Federal High Court.  The 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory have judiciaries headed by Chief Judges.
  • State and the Local Governments:Nigeria’s 36 States and 774 Local Governments are administered by Governors and Chairmen. States have Legislative Assemblies while Local Governments have same.
  • Main Cities:Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Benin-City, Enugu, Calabar, Sokoto, Ilorin, Akure, Ado-Ekiti
  • Investment Drive:Following the return of democracy, Nigeria has opened its doors to investors, both local and foreign and the various obstacles to investment have been removed. There is massive divestment of the Federal Government from various companies and redirecting such resources to the provision of public infrastructure and an enabling environment of active private sector participation.  The Federal Government has put in place a number of incentives such as the tax holiday, income exemption, enhanced capital allowance etc for all types of investors.  Most of these are to be reviewed periodically.

POLITICS
DEMOCRACY & POLITICAL INFLUENCE
Over the past few decades, Nigerians have reached a national consensus in at least four areas: to deepen democracy and the rule of law; build an economy driven primarily by the private sector, not government; display zero tolerance for corruption in all its forms, and finally, restructure the economy; with our government ensuring efficiency and good governance. Governments have been committed to building on the greatest accomplishments of past years, relying on agenda that forms the basis of their contract with the electorate and concentrate on rebuilding the nation’s physical infrastructure and human capital, in order to move the country forward. The country is focusing on accelerating economic and other reforms in a way that makes a concrete and visible difference to ordinary people. Without any doubt, Nigeria’s economy already has been set on the path of growth, but government realizes that it must continue to do the necessary work to create more jobs, lower interest rates, reduce inflation, and maintain a stable exchange rate. All this will increase our chances for rap growth and development.

GOVERNANCE
Nigeria aims to create a Nigeria that Nigerians can be proud to belong to and grateful to inhabit, a Nigeria that rewards hard work, protects its people and their property, and offers its children better prospects than those they may be tempted to seek in Europe or the United States.  All citizens, regardless of gender, race, religion, or politics, should feel that they have a stake in Nigeria’s future and that their loyalty and diligence will be rewarded. The National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy’s(NEEDS) vision is also one in which Nigeria fulfils its potential to become Africa’s largest economy and a major player in the global economy. NEEDS is about the Nigerian people; their welfare, health employment, education, political power, physical security, and empowerment are of paramount importance in realizing this vision of the future.  To reduce poverty and inequality, the plan proposes acting on several fronts: “offering farmers improved irrigation, machinery, and crop varieties will help boost agricultural productivity and tackle poverty head on, since half of Nigeria’s poor people work in agriculture.”

Half of Nigeria’s people are children, the bridge to a prosperous future. NEEDS recognizes the importance of children by making the improvement of the education system a top priority. NEEDS calls for replacing the pension scheme, which is in crisis, with a contributory scheme. It proposes special programmes targeting people who have the weakest political voice and who are most vulnerable to the ravages of poverty. Laws and programmes will be implemented to empower women, children, the disabled, and the elderly. NEEDS emphasizes the critical importance of improving infrastructure. More-and more reliable-electricity and a new and better maintained network of roads will encourage businesses to expand. NEEDS gives special support to agriculture, industry, small and medium-scale enterprises, and oil and gas. Under the plan, the government will seek long-term capital for investment. Trade policy, so critical to Nigeria’s stake in the regional economy, will be modified to unburden business of the red tape and complex procedures that hinder it from flourishing. NEEDS envisages forging stronger links between educational institutions and industry to stimulate rapid industrial growth and efficient exploitation of resources.

Furthermore, by allowing the private sector to thrive, NEEDS creates opportunities of employment and wealth creation. It empowers people to take advantage of these opportunities by creating a system of incentives that reward hard work and punish corruption, by investing in education, and by providing special programmes for the most vulnerable members of society. In addition, the private sector is recognized as the engine of economic growth under NEEDS. It will be the executor, investor, and manager of business. The government will play the role of enabler, facilitator, and regulator, helping the private sector grow, create jobs, and generate wealth.  Deregulation and liberalization will diminish government control and attract private sector investments. NEEDS aims at restructuring the government to make it smaller, stronger, better skilled, and more efficient at delivering essential services. It seeks to transform the government from a haven of corruption to an institution that spurs development and serves the people. Consequently, the number of government jobs has declined, and the cost of running the government at the federal level has fallen, though not dramatically enough; with in-kind benefits for civil servants, such as subsidized housing, transport, and utilities are monetized. Reforms and regulations will be implemented to ensure greater transparency and accountability, and corrupt practices will be outlawed. Government activities and budgeting will be informed by a framework that connects policy with government income and expenditure.

VOTER EDUCATION
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the States Independent Electoral Commission are responsible for conducting elections into political units of the federal and State governments on one part, and the local governments on the other hand. A review of the electoral process has been undertaken. becomes inevitable if an enduring democratic culture is to be entrenched. The Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais Committee on Electoral Reform proposed a number of measures which are being introduced. The committee has rightly suggested that there must be impartial arbiters in electoral contests and that bodies charged with the organization of elections must be clearly independent of the three arms of government. Another recommended measure is the creation of an Electoral Offences Commission to handle electoral malpractices and to ensure that stiff and proper penalties and sanctions that would serve as deterrents. This issue will be treated further in the latter part of this compilation. INEC has consistently educated the citizenry on what needs to be done for future electoral contests is for flawless electoral contests; and is educating the electorate on  the importance of using their votes to elect their preferences..

ECONOMY
‘Nigeria’s economy constitutes 76 per cent of the economy of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. Nigeria also holds 30 per cent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa and 21 per cent of Africa’s economy. Nigeria is a middle income, mixed economy and emerging market, with expanding financial, service, communications technology, and entertainment sectors. It is ranked 26th in the world in terms of GDP, and is the largest economy in Africa (based on rebased figures announced in April 2014). It is also on track to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. Its re-emergent, though currently underperforming, manufacturing sector is the third-largest on the continent, and produces a large proportion. Nigeria, in 2014, changed its economic analysis to account for rapidly-growing contributors to its GDP, such as telecommunications, banking, and its film industry. (Nollywood) Nigeria produces only about 2.7% of the world’s supply of crude oil, with Saudi Arabia producing 12.9%, Russia: 12.7%, USA:8.6%. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now imports a large quantity of its food products, though there is a resurgence in manufacturing. ‘Nigeria’s economic performance in recent years has been positive overall.

Nigeria is the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and is growing at a steady 5½ percent on average over the last five years. The economy is also well diversified, foreign exchange and budget reserves — which act as defence against economic and financial shocks — have recovered over the past year and the exchange rate has been stable. Despite these accomplishments, poverty and unemployment remain too high. Efforts aimed at investing in infrastructure, especially in power, and promoting access to credit for small and medium enterprises would go a long way to boost growth and further enhance Nigeria’s economic outlook. Nigeria is a vibrant and diverse economy, with services accounting for more than 50 percent of GDP in 2013, agriculture – 22 percent, and oil – 14 percent of GDP. As such, the economy is far less dependent on oil than people may think. with services accounting for more than 50 percent of GDP in 2013, agriculture – 22 percent, and oil – 14 percent of GDP. As such, the economy is far less dependent on oil than people may think. But significant challenges remain. Government is working towards improving the business environment, promote opportunities for growth in the private sector, and strengthen social cohesion.

FISCAL POLICIES
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the regulator of the nation’s economy. The mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is derived from the 1958 Act of Parliament, as amended in 1991, 1993,1997,1998,1999 and 2007. CBN has the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure monetary and price stability;
  • Issue legal tender currency in Nigeria;
  • Manage external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency;
  • Promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and
  • Act as Banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

The CBN Act of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria charges the Bank with the overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government. This is an important role that confers on the CBN the responsibility of acting as the regulator of the economy.  It is projected that Nigeria would emerge the world’s fourth economy by 2050. Currently, the nation forms 77 per cent on the Gross Domestic Product of West-Africa and 26 per cent of the GDP of Africa. She stated that the power sector had attracted about 3 billion naira immediately after privatization, while some companies are already taking advantage of the thriving market in Nigeria to invest. Government is working for a sustainable socio-economic and political transformation, utilizing the available vast human and material resources maximally for its rapid overall development. Nigeria’s abundant solid minerals deposits and the vast Agriculture sub-sector have remained largely untapped for decades.  A critical appraisal of the economic situation indicates that Governments at the three tiers in the country are engaged in the diversification of the economy to reduce over-dependence on crude oil exports.   Governments are strengthening operations and investments in agriculture, power/renewable energy, mining, culture and tourism, as well as small and medium scale industrial and agro-allied sectors. The programme of privatization has been designed to disengage government from direct involvement in business. In this connection, Government’s diversification agenda emphasizes the development of infrastructure, the agriculture and solid minerals sectors.  The country’s economic policy supports a private sector driven economy under which the role of Government is limited to that of a facilitator through the creation of an enabling environment. Evidently, Nigeria’s quest for speedy economic recovery is being pursued through commitment as exhibited in the past by leading industrialized nations of the world, and emerging economies in the Far East. The economy of Nigeria is undoubtedly the engine of the economy of West Africa and even beyond. New trading patterns are evolving, resulting in the formation of various blocs.

Major Goals

  • Human Capital Development
  • Creation of an enabling environment for socio-economic and political growth
  • Acceleration of the pace of industrial development
  • Quality service delivery to the citizenry
  • Food security and improved agricultural enlargement
  • Exploring physical and natural endowment
  • Building blocks of a financially viable nation
  • Promoting, preserving and sustaining the rich cultural heritage of the Black race
  • Running an efficient, transparent and responsive administration

TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY
Government has put in place measures to promote accountability and transparency. Apart from several reforms introduced into the system, Government acts based on its belief that accountability is a concept deeply rooted in political power and democracy. It is the bridge linking the people or the electorate with the Executive- to whom enormous power has been entrusted It therefore goes without saying that the notion of accountability and good governance are very connected. In fact, the first evidence of bad governance is the absence of accountability. There are several agencies of government charged with promoting and enforcing accountability. Yet, several institutional frameworks are in place, designed to wipe out this malaise which has affected the psyche of the people tremendously and has negatively impacted on societal development. These frameworks are administered by some agencies of government including the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; the Code of Conduct Bureau established by the 1999 Constitution to maintain a high standard of public morality in the conducts of Government business and to ensure that all the actions and conducts of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.

The ICPC, on its part is a creation of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, and is empowered to “prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related offences”. (ICPC Publication; Institutionalizing Integrity) The EFCC is the Financial Intelligence Unit for Nigeria and was created by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 to tackle the various financial and economic malpractices that may be detected by the Commission. These agencies of government have proven over the years to be establishments, if well managed, could further exert pressure on Nigerians, particularly the leadership to make better use of resources, improve extractive capacities and pursue rapid growth. It is to be noted that government establishments have in the past few years firmed up accountability and transparency arrangements through policy measures which include the creation of Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Units, otherwise called the Due Process Units and the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility laws to check possible abuses and excesses of public officers as well as those engaged in the private sector. These are surely indications of a brighter tomorrow with regard to accountability, transparency and good governance in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the Right to Freedom of Expression and the press is enshrined in Chapter IV, sub section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which says that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions on issues affecting the society, as well as advising on how best the society should operate and be run by government.’’ Similarly, Article 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, states the obligations of the mass media: “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times, be free to uphold the fundamental objectives (contained in this chapter) and highlight the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people”. The adoption of global best practices has given birth to the promulgation of laws that would ensure the free flow of information. In Nigeria, the Freedom of Information Law exists to compel the release of information that are considered to be in public interest.  Subject to certain exceptions established under the Act, the right to request for information is made so sacrosanct that where a request is made upon a public institution, and the request is denied, the person who made the request is entitled to approach the court to compel the disclosure of the document. Unlike in normal civil actions where it is a party that commences an action in court that has the burden of proving his claim, Section 24 of the Act, places on the shoulder of the public institution, the evidential burden of showing why the information is not being disclosed and the excuse given must be one which is specifically recognized under the Act. The Act among other salient provisions, protects “whistleblowers” from liabilities arising from the operations of the Official Secret Act, where the information forms part of official government records, and the information is disclosed to the public to reveal acts of mismanagement, wastage or corruption in any government department, ministry or parastatal.

FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
The financial services sector continues to be dominated by the banking system and the capital market. Capital-market capitalization has been rising steadily to around NGN 13.23 trillion (USD 82.8 billion) at the end of 2013 from 9 trillion naira in December 2012, thus showing signs of recovery. More importantly, there must be goals and objectives that must be stated in measurable terms. This factor has given rise to the evolution of both short and long term visions and plans for the continent’s sustainable objectives. There are several banks and over 1000 registered financial institutions operating in Nigeria. These include commercial banks, discount houses, community banks, foreign exchange bureaus, finance companies and mortgage institutions. Banks dominate the financial services sector, accounting for some 90% of total assets. The regulatory agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria has urged Nigerian banks to be innovative to increase their share of the global markets. According to the CBN, competition is getting keener in the markets, and only banks that are innovative and creative will remain relevant.

In addition, community banks have been established to provide credit and banking facilities to low-income families, especially in rural areas, under a programmeorganised by the state-sponsored National Board of Community Banks.  Although the primary functions of banks are to mobilise deposits, credits and meet customer obligations daily, the banks have made more customers millionaires in the past decade than any other period in Nigeria. This was made possible through the creation of unique financial products that have continued to strengthen the bond and trust with the customer. Bank customers now have access to almost all banking services 24/7 including access to cash at odd hours through the ATMs, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, service subscriptions, online and offline shopping, lifestyle management and a host of others. Banks in Nigeria have leveraged technology to reposition banking in the minds of their customers.

SOCIAL INVESTMENTS PROGRAMMES
The strategies and objectives of economic intervention packages are very noble, designed to promote Nigeria to greater heights and ensure that the country emerges from the doldrums into which it has been plunged by political misadventure and recklessness and the misplaced values and interests of the citizenry who have repeatedly refused to learn. However, one factor that has often worked against the implementation of social development programmes is the initiation of policies and programmes without reference to the target population. It is to be noted that no matter how beautiful a programme is, its achievement of the set objectives might be impracticable if it does not conform to the aspirations of the populace. The urge to bail the nation out of its predicament is patriotically and commendably high. Institutional frameworks are being implemented and are being worked out on a regular basis.

Nigeria is an economy with great potentials in many sectors: Agriculture, petrochemicals, manufacturing, solid minerals, creative industries and tourism. ”Nigeria is moving beyond potential as it is evident that Nigerian and foreign investors are making very successful investments in Nigeria. It’s beyond our natural advantages – size, population, mineral wealth; it is the reforms that are creating economic opportunities that make everyone want to be a player in our economy. The government is determined to press on with these reforms, as it believes that it is the only way it could create jobs and also increase the quality of life. ‘International investors are much more interested in Nigeria as a result of the big opportunities they see. Nigeria is reforming its oil sector and make it contribute much more, to inclusive growth, delivery of infrastructure, better education and healthcare. Non-oil sectors including manufacturing, real estate, mining and others, will deliver more in terms of jobs and even economic growth. The private sector entities that are successfully investing in these sectors are the best demonstration of the opportunities in Nigeria outside the oil sector.

REVENUE MOBILIZATION
There is in existence an agency of the Federal Government known as the Revenue Mobilization Allocation & Fiscal Commission. The Commission derives its powers and constitutional functions from paragraph 32 of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Commission, accordingly, has been vested, constitutionally, with powers and responsibilities to:Monitor the accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account;Review from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities: Provided that any revenue formula which has been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act;Advise the Federal, State and Local Governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue is to be increased;Determine the remuneration appropriate to political office holders, including the President, Vice-President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislators and the holders of the offices mention in Section 84 and 124 of the Constitution; and Discharge such other functions as are conferred on the Commission by the constitution or any Act of the National Assembly.

AGRICULTURE & RURAL DEVELOPMENT
As a purely agrarian society, the country places emphasis on the development of mechanized agriculture. In an attempt to boost food production, Government has continued to encourage large scale and irrigation farming, to ensure an all-the-year round yield, with the intention of turning Nigeria into a reputable global food basket.  Far-reaching reforms directed at sanitizing several sectors of the economy are being introduced. Nigeria’s economy has overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of government revenues. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now imports some of its food products. Agriculture employs about two-thirds of Nigeria’s total labour force, contributes about 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides 88% of none-oil earnings.  The Agricultural GDP is contributed by crops (85%), Livestock (10%), Fisheries (4%) and Forestry (1%).  More than 90% of the Agricultural output is accounted for by small scale farmers cultivating less than 2 hectares of crops.  There are enormous potentials for the rapid growth of the agricultural sub-sector which used to be the mainstay of most economies in Africa. Partnerships between farmers, government, and multinational corporations would result into increased yields and to acceleration of Africa’s commercial agricultural growth. A proper attention by way of policy implementation that would encourage farmers to go beyond the subsistence level.

There are, however, numerous challenges that subsistence farmers are faced with and that inhibit potential growth. These include limited access to infrastructure, to productivity-enhancing technologies, to education, which are issues that require substantial investment and long-term partnership of local business, farmers, corporations, governments and NGOs. Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, speaking the the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja, in May, 2014, also rightly stressed the need for Africa to drive quality inclusive growth that creates jobs particularly in the agriculture sector, which she said, hold huge potential for investors. “Agriculture matters and is three times as effective in reducing poverty; adding that “It is important for young people to understand that farming is very rewarding. Agriculture featured prominently at the meeting. The Forum’s ‘Grow Africa Initiative’ partners doubled their commitments for agriculture and food security to $72 billion. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the global demand for food is expected to increase by 60% by 2050 and smallholder farmers will need to play a key role in meeting demands of the markets that are to reach a three-fold increase by 2030, bringing more jobs, greater prosperity, less hunger and more opportunities for farmers to compete globally.

SOLID MINERALS DEVELOPMENT
There are 34 solid minerals, 44 exportable commodities; and vast arable land.  In addition, the private sector is recognized as the engine of economic growth. It is the executor, investor, and manager of business. The government is playing the role of enabler, facilitator, and regulator, helping the private sector grow, create jobs, and generate wealth.  Deregulation and liberalization have diminished government control and attract private sector investments. Nigerian government’s policy aims at restructuring the government to make it smaller, stronger, better skilled, and more efficient at delivering essential services. It seeks to transform the government to an institution that spurs development and serves the people.Over the past few years, Nigeria has largely attempted to implement economic reform programmes designed to raise the country’s standard of living through a variety of packages, including macroeconomic stability, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, transparency, and accountability. The National Economic and Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) was put in place to address basic deficiencies, such as the lack of freshwater for household use and irrigation, unreliable power supplies, decaying infrastructure, and impediments to private enterprise. A critical appraisal of the present economic situation indicates the need to strengthen the small and medium scale industrial and agro-allied sectors in Nigeria. In the past few years, the Federal Government of Nigeria has accordingly introduced far-reaching reforms directed at sanitizing several sectors of the economy. Efforts are being intensified to grow the nation’s solid minerals sector.

HEALTH SECTOR REQUIREMENTS
Human capital is perhaps the most important factor of production. Emphasis must necessarily the placed on the development of human resources required for economic growth, in their capacity as drivers of policies, programmes, plans and actions of activities. Another factor of prominent importance is Africa’s huge population and the training of its human capital to harness the development of the continent. To support Africa’s growing population which demographers have projected to peak at 2.7 billion in 2060, compared to N1.00 Billion in 2010; with a strong possibility of overtaking that of China and India by that date, if not controlled, especially on account of high fertility rate.295. A report in the world’s leading general medical journal – ‘The Lancet’ states that nearly one-quarter of the “full- income” economic growth in low- and middle-income countries between 2000 and 2011 resulted from health improvements. The Commission on Investing in Health went on to say that with the right investments and changes in policies, by 2035 every country can reduce child mortality rates to match the very best middle-income countries today. Economists and development professionals have long known that investments in global health are economically sound, but these findings are further evidence.

POWER/ENERGY
Nigeria’s energy sector challenges and reforms put forward by the Government to tackle the challenges. Laws and policies aimed at addressing the various energy generation, transmission and distribution challenges bedevilling the energy sector are stated and explained. Various strategies were employed by the Government which include encouraging private sector participation, diversification of the energy generation sources and promoting energy efficiency for sustainable development. The Government has spent billions of

dollars since 2003 in the construction of new power generation facilities, transmission lines and distribution centres to boost the power supply and at the same time initiated the process of selling off the existing facilities to private investors. Also, the Energy Commission of Nigeria embarked on programs and strategies aimed at boosting energy generation from renewable sources. On the other hand, the commission focus on the need for energy efficiency on both demand and supply side to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and viability of energy systems. The renewable energy sector was boosted by the implementation of various renewable energy generation projects. Central to this is rebuilding and expansion of basic infrastructure. There are comprehensive plans for mass transportation, especially railroad development.

Equally important is the nation’s resolve to devote its best efforts to overcoming the energy challenge. Efforts are being intensified at making dramatic improvements in power generation, transmission and distribution. Accordingly, one of the most critical areas that drive development and upon which the greatest attention is being focused in Nigeria is the power sector. Reportsindicate that development partners across the world are to inject about $2 billion into Nigeria’s power sector in the next few years as feasibility studies for 10 small and medium hydros have been completed and ready for concession with capacities ranging from less than one megawatt to 10 megawatts of electricity. About $2 billion is being injected by development partners across the world up to 2018 in realization of the fact that without power, African countries cannot provide the necessary ingredient needed to boost their economies and provide jobs for the populace.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
The country is relatively hampered by an infrastructural deficit, especially in energy supply and transportation, and under-investment in human capital; but there are ongoing ambitious reforms to address these challenges. For example, privatisation of the power sector was concluded in November 2013, and private power and distribution companies have taken over the generation and distribution of electricity, while the federal government retains transmission. There were also renewed efforts to address other infrastructural challenges. A National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) was developed in 2013, to address longstanding infrastructure decay. This is a 30-year plan for accelerating infrastructure development in the country with focus on core infrastructure, including energy, transport, housing, water, and information and communication technology. Other infrastructure categories include agriculture, mining, social infrastructure and security and integrate various infrastructure plans. Its cost has been estimated at USD 2.8 trillion, 48% of which will come from the private sector. This intervention holds high promise for improved infrastructure development.

Central to this is rebuilding and expansion of basic infrastructure. There are comprehensive plans for mass transportation, especially railroad development. Equally important is the nation’s resolve to devote its best efforts to overcoming the energy challenge. Efforts are being intensified at making dramatic improvements in power generation, transmission and distribution. Accordingly, one of the most critical areas that drive development and upon which the greatest attention is being focused in Nigeria is the power sector. Reports indicate that development partners across the world are to inject about $2 billion into Nigeria’s power sector in the next few years as feasibility studies for 10 small and medium hydros have been completed and ready for concession with capacities ranging from less than one megawatt to 10 megawatts of electricity. About $2 billion is being injected by development partners across the world up to 2018 in realization of the fact that without power, African countries cannot provide the necessary ingredient needed to boost their economies and provide jobs for the populace.

The major sectors of concern to African nations include Infrastructure service provision such as improved water and sanitation, reliable energy, better housing, and more efficient transport systems, to improve lives. Infrastructure is a key factor that has prevented African countries from successful integration into the global trading system. Poor infrastructure is behind the higher trade cost that Africa, especially its landlocked countries, face compared with other regions. Poor infrastructure accounts for 40 per cent of transport costs for coastal countries and 60 per cent for landlocked countries. Most countries in Africa appear to have failed to sustain the gains that were made during the three decades up to year 2000. In this respect, a number of countries are not able to expand services fast enough to keep up with rapid demographic growth and urbanization. These countries would have to brace up so that Africa is able to at least close the gap between the continent and the advanced world. Evidently, lack of adequate infrastructure to support growth is one of the most prominent factors keeping Africa at the back row. And it is certain that no society could dream of growth without infrastructure and basic necessities of life. However, it is heartwarming that African leaders realize the importance of this variable.

CRUDE OIL/PETROLEUM SECTOR
As of 2014, Nigeria’s petroleum industry contributes about 14% to its economy. Therefore, though the petroleum sector is important, as government revenues and foreign exchange still heavily rely on this sector, it remains in fact a small part of the country’s overall diversified economy. The petroleum industry in Nigeria is the largest on the African continent. As of 2014, Nigeria’s petroleum industry contributes about 14% to its economy. Therefore, though the petroleum sector is important, as government revenues and foreign exchange still heavily rely on this sector, it remains in fact a small part of the country’s overall diversified economy. A report published by Corporate Nigeria indicates that the country’s oil and gas sectors constitute 97.5 per cent of export revenues and 81 per cent of the government’s budgetary revenues. This economic growth has largely been due to developments in the non-oil sector, which has been a strong driver of growth over the last ten years – growing by over nine per cent a year from 2003-7, in marked contrast to the period 1997 to 2000, when it grew by just 3.5 per cent. This increased growth has been helped by the introduction of the government’s National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), a medium term plan which, in its second phase aims to drive growth by improving infrastructure through increased private sector participation. On a state level, NEEDS has its counterpart in the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS). In the first quarter of 2010, growth in non-oil output increased to 8.15 per cent.  Natural gas reserves are well over 5,300 km3 (187×1012 cu ft), the gas reserves are three times as substantial as the crude oil reserves. The biggest natural gas initiative is the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Company, which is operated jointly by several companies and the state. It began exploration and production in 1999. Chevron is also attempting to create the Escravos Gas Utilization project which will be capable of producing 4,500,000 m3 (160×106 cu ft) per day.

COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology coordinates this vital activity in Nigeria. The ICT Roadmap provides an integrated framework for ICT development in Nigeria and articulates the strategic direction on four pillars namely: Governance; Policy, Legal and Regulatory framework; Industry and Infrastructure; Capacity Building which are braced by a beam of Cross-Cutting issues.Government has increasingly recognized that e-Government offers not just a new technology, but also a mechanism to transform the way government operates.he Nigerian Communications Commission is the independent National Regulatory Authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. The Commission is responsible for creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry as well as ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services throughout the country.

Over the years NCC has earned a reputation as a foremost Telecom regulatory agency in Africa. The Commission is hoping to catalyze the use of ICT’S for different aspect of national development. The Commission has initiated several programs such as State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI) and Wire Nigeria Project (WIN) to help stimulate demand and accelerate the uptake of ICT tools and services necessary for the enthronement of a knowledge society in Nigeria. There were about 140 million mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria as at December 2017, making the mobile phone business one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria within 17 years of its introduction.The Interconnection of several networks linking thousands of devices – the Internet – and the resultant dependencies on the facilities provided, have become an indispensable platform for communication, commerce, development, etc. The reach of this platform extends beyond the traditional borders of nations and as such impact on one “area” affects another, thus no nation can stand aloof or remain complacent with the developments or its use. The Governance of the Internet has therefore become a major global issue.

SECURITY & GLOBAL COLLABORATION
The United Nations is today faced with growing demands for collective intervention alongside what has been perceived as declining confidence in its effectiveness and efficiency, diminishing financial support for its activities by some leading industrialized countries, and gathering storm clouds in the direction in which it seems to be headed, propelled by the challenge of humanitarian intervention. The recent proposals for reforms of the UN, including calls for more permanent members in its Security Council, and the negative reaction of some super powers to this development, are clear indications of the fact that the challenges confronting the UN in the new millennium are enormous. One of these is the security and peaceful coexistence among nations of the world. And Nigeria is one of the countries that have excelled in United Nations activities connected with policing the peace in different parts of the world through troop contributions, thus fully supporting substantially, the UN agenda for the promotion of peace and international understanding. Nigeria has a chequered history with regard to policing the peace. For instance, the bulk of the 176,000 soldiers recruited from West-Africa to fight the Japanese during the Second World war from 1939-1945, were Nigerians. Many of these precious lives were lost in Burma, when Nigeria fought on the side of the British colonialists. Records from the UN show that out of 55 peace-keeping operations established so far, Nigeria has participated in 40 missions (73 per cent) while over 250,000 members of the Armed Forces have participated in UN sponsored peace-keeping missions all over the world. Nigeria’s contributions to the socio-economic and political development of the world cannot, therefore, be dismissed.

The efforts of the African Union and the governments of the West African sub-region in policing the peace since many of them attained independence have been prosecuted through moves largely spearheaded by Nigeria. The country’s efforts in the area of the creation of the New Partnership for Development in Africa (NEPAD), are a step in the right direction. Such partnerships have assisted tremendously in dissolving international barriers while also contributing to the forging of a new global agenda, inspired by the needs of contemporary Africa. Given the increased prominence of ethnic conflicts in recent years and the foreign policy of Nigeria which makes Africa its centre-piece, it should naturally be expected that our country would be greatly involved in facilitating the settlement and resolution of conflicts, especially within the African continent plagued by underdevelopment and poverty. As earlier highlighted, Nigeria has a brilliant record with regard to nationalist struggles and support for the emancipation and liberation of colonies in Africa.

FOREIGN POLICY

Nigeria’s foreign policy has been characterised by a focus on Africa as a regional power and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; capability to exercise hegemonic influence in the region: peaceful settlement of disputes; non-alignment and non-intentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development.In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonise trade and investment practices for its 16 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.

Beyond the impressive performance of its economy, Nigeria has an impressive record in foreign relations. Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the fundamental objectives and directive principles as provided in Section 19 (a-e) encapsulates the Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives to include: (a) promotion and protection of the national interest; (b) promotion of African integration and support for African unity; (c) promotion of international cooperation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations, and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations; (d) respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication; and (e) promotion of a just world order. Nigeria has a glorious history with regard to participation in global and international events on platforms provided by the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the Economic Community of West African States and the Non-Aligned Movement.

The mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as defined is to remain dedicated to the vital national interests of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the promotion of African Integration and unity, ,international cooperation for the consolidation of Global Peace, Security, a just world economic order and democratic values, through the formulation, articulation and implementation of Nigeria’s Policy objectives for the benefit of the nation, and her citizens by building the capability to be a major role player in world affairs, earning the respect of the People of Africa, and the larger international community. Nigeria occupied the much-coveted position of President of the General Assembly of the United-Nations in the 1980s, when late Major-Gen. Joseph NanvenGarba was Nigeria’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations. Nigeria’s Chief Emeka Anyaoku has served as the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has served as co-chairman of the Commonwealth, chairman of the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement.

In addition, Professor Michael AbiolaOmolewa has served as the President of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Since independence, Nigeria has been the force behind The Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) a platform to integrate the sub-region economically, founded in 1975, was a Nigerian initiative. Records of the body’s operations indicate a heavy dependence on Nigeria’s financial support for survival. With Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy, the country played prominent and commendable roles; political, educational, as well as financial, in the liberation struggles of the countries of the southern African region. Nigeria’s commitments to peaceful co-existence among the peoples of the world in terms of material and financial support have been massive.

TRADE & INVESTMENT

Investment Drive: Following the return of democracy, Nigeria has opened its doors to investors, both local and foreign and the various obstacles to investment have been removed.  There is massive divestment of the Federal Government from various companies and redirecting such resources to the provision of public infrastructure and an enabling environment of active private sector participation.  The Federal Government has put in place a number of incentives such as the tax holiday, income exemption, enhanced capital allowance etc for all types of investors.  Most of these are to be reviewed periodically. Nigeria is the leading producer of crude oil in Africa and agriculture remains the backbone of its national economy.  It is the 8th largest oil producer and has the 6th largest deposit of gas. Your decision to invest in NIGERIA is a wise one because the country offers the following significant advantages to potential investors.

Nigeria operates a private sector driven economy under which the role of government is limited to that of creating an enabling environment. Stakeholders in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have stressed the need for government to adopt a holistic approach in addressing the huge infrastructure deficit, as well as identifying critical sectors that would drive the nation’s diversified base. Members of the OPS that include manufacturers and operators in the services sector meet periodically with government officials to rub minds on the way forward concerning economic growth. They also discuss challenges bordering on logistics and transportation, harmonization of taxes and regulations as well as inconsistency in policies continue to overshadow government’s efforts. Government has continuously assured investors of its commitment to putting in place policies on doing business with ease in Nigeria.

An African Development Bank Report indicates that ”African Heads of States in their Declaration on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) in 2012 called for innovative solutions to facilitate and accelerate infrastructure delivery in Africa. In response, and after broad consultations with African stakeholders, the African Development Bank has proposed the establishment of anew delivery vehicle called Africa 50; which aims at mobilizing private financing to accelerate the speed of infrastructure delivery in Africa, thereby creating a new platform for Africa’s growth. Africa 50 will focus on high-impact national and regional projects in the energy, transport, ICT and water sectors.

 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN NIGERIA

  • Your decision to invest in Nigeria is a wise one because the country offers significant advantages to potential investors:
  • Enormous human and material resources abound in the country. Most of these resources are yet to be fully exploited.
  • The country constitutes a significant part of the expansive Nigerian Market, which stretches into the West African sub-region, with prospects of covering the whole of Africa, and even beyond.
  • Nigeria operates participatory democracy, which accommodates all shades of opinions in a spirit of love and concord.
  • Nigeria has created conducive business and industrial environment by putting in place, policies and programmes, which guarantee a free market economy.
  • The private sector in Nigeria is dynamic and has assumed greater responsibilities under the industrial policy of the State, which makes the sector the principal engine of economic development.
  • A non-discriminatory policy with respect to local and foreign investors is in place with both groups enjoying adequate government protection and incentives.
  • Exchange control regulations in Nigeria and invariably in Osun State have been liberalized in order to ensure free flow of international finance. There is now an unhindered movement of investment capital.
  • There is a well-developed banking and financial sector. Credit facilities are easily accessible by investors.
  • Skilled labour is abundant at an economic cost. This leads to low costs of production.