WayForward@ITREALMS

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Large economic market, only starting point – Johnson

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has declared that being a large and attractive market is only a starting point, hence Nigeria needs to put her acts in order to be globally competitive.

Speaking at the 17th Nigeria’s Economic Summit (NES) in Abuja, recently, on “Attracting Foreign Direct Investment and Building Global Partnerships” Mrs. Johnson said that as for competitiveness, that Nigeria has a lot to put in place to ensure that both Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local private investors thrive.

She cited an instance with the Global Competitiveness Index Analyzer 2010 –2011, which indicated that South Africa is much better off than Nigeria.

Also, she noted that South Africa is Best performing country across the continent when it comes to the Global Competitiveness Index 2011-2012, ranking 50th out of the 142 countries of the world in the index, while Nigeria was ranked 127.

She pointed out that on the Infrastructure, South Africa also tops the ladder, market size and technology readiness; ranking 62, 25 and 76 in that order, while Nigeria came 135 and 34  and 106 when placed in parallel.

On the quality of electricity supply and labour market, Mrs. Johnson disclosed that Egypt and Kenya leads on the continent by scoring 74 and 37 respectively, whereas Nigeria was ranked 139 and 70 in the same categories.

She described the aforementioned as the resultant effect of Nigeria’s competitive weaknesses.

According to her, significant improvements are required in strengthening public institutions some of which she listed to include enforcement of property rights and intellectual property.

She further said that government needs to be more efficient in its spending, in addition to acc accountability, which must meet auditing and reporting standards as well as arresting the declining security situation.

Additionally, she said, significant improvements are required in availability and quality of physical infrastructure, namely transportation, power, ports, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to name a few.

Johnson maintained that Major improvements are needed with respect to health-care, stressing that the impact of health issues on businesses is significant.

Due to the fact that Foreign Direct Investment is finite, and countries have to compete for it, there is need for Nigeria to address its competitive weaknesses, some of which she further outlined to include noteworthy improvements in the quality of education and the quality of entrants into the workforce.

Just as it’s key to have the technological readiness, she lamented that the currently low adoption of ICT by individuals and businesses, saying these have negative impacts on productivity.

Development opportunities, she said, still exist in the financial market, but low access to capital and high cost of capital when it could be accessed as well as size of the capital markets based on the number of companies and market capital serve as determining factor too.

“Whilst there is capacity to innovate, significant improvements are required in harnessing such capacities, especially the university –industry collaborations and government’s adoption of advanced technological products,” she said.

Remmy Nweke

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