The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, has expressed disappointment over the federal government’s poor attitude to the attraction of foreign investors.
Sanusi said this in an interview with journalists at the on-going US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018 taking place in Washington DC.
The event, which has its theme as “Nigeria is Open for Business”, was billed to have top Nigerian government officials and ministers in attendance.
However, when Sanusi arrived at the venue, he was disappointed that the government officials were not on the ground.
The ministers who drew the ire of the king were Chief Audu Ogbeh, Agriculture; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Science and Technology; Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Information and Culture; Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Power, Works and Housing; Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Petroleum Resources; Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Finance; and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Steel and Solid Minerals.
Also absent were Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele; and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Mrs. Yewande Sadiku.
According to him, “We have a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start at 9am, but we started at 10am. When I came in, they took me to the Ambassador’s office to sit down, while investors were waiting down there. We had a list of people who were to be there – the Vice President, minsters, and some of them are in town. But they haven’t come up!
“You invite top investors, your ministers are in Washington, and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria. That is not how you attract investors. If you have this forum in the Rwandan Embassy, I assure you that President Paul Kagame himself would be there telling people to come.
“Sometimes, it is about how we market ourselves, how we package ourselves. There is absolutely no reason for the Nigerian embassy to arrange a ‘Nigeria is Open for Business’ forum with ministers in town, with governors in town and not have the coordination that they are actually here to meet with these investors.
“There is no reason why we should start one hour late, and there is no reason why the public address system should not work.
“At the end of the day, this is the first point of contact of the country. He (the investor) hasn’t even come to Nigeria. So, what will be his experience in Abuja and he is saying, if I am having this experience in Washington, what will happen when I go to Abuja, when I go to Kano?
“How do I get to see the governor? Will it take me 10 hours?
“And for these people who are in Washington, they have investors to meet, they have Heads of State to meet, they have the World Bank to meet. So, one hour is a lot of time for them to be sitting down waiting for you.
“I think we need to just look at those kind of things that investors look at and have a very honest conversation – sector by sector, region by region, state by state – and what do we need to do to make those areas attractive.”
However, earlier, the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor told his audience that the country had a lot of growth opportunities. He pointed out that diversifying the economy would protect it from shocks, whenever they occur.
“If you look at all the things being done by Dangote Refinery, they would reduce our import, particularly petroleum imports, and conserve our foreign exchange,” Sanusi said.
The Emir noted that countries, such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, had taken steps to make their environments attractive to investors.
Sanusi said: “We have to realise that the problems we have, from herdsmen/farmer clashes to the security situation, actually have their roots in not focusing on the productivity of agriculture.
“The second is the power sector. Many people here today do not know that Nigeria today can produce 12,000 megawatts of electricity, we need to improve on how to evacuate and distribute.”
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