The Regional Director, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Dr. Patrick Kormawa, yesterday said Nigeria has become the preferred destination for foreign investors.
Kormawa who made this disclosure at the 22nd fellows conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) held in Lagos, said estimates have shown that Nigeria is a viable field for foreign investors.
Kormawa alongside the Executive Chairman, Philips Consulting Group, Mr. Foluso Philips; the NSChE President, Engineer Abubakar Yar'Adua and the chairman, fundraising committee, Dr. John Erinne, were some of the participants at the seminar themed 'Transforming the nation through Nigeria's Industrial Revolution Plan'.
He said, "Estimates have shown that 8.8billion dollars came into Nigeria last year from foreign investors. Nigeria has become a preferred destination for investors.
"Nigeria is being increasingly recognised as one of the most important countries in Africa for investment. For example in 2011 FDI inflow to Nigeria was about 8.8 Billion. This is a vote of confidence from outsiders and in particular private sector investors.
"Nigeria is a vibrant and diverse economy, with services accounting for more than 50 per cent of GDP in 2013, agriculture 22 per cent, and oil 14 per cent of GDP.
"The rebased GDP figures show that sectors such as manufacturing and the creative industries are among those that are growing very quickly. As such, the economy is far less dependent on oil than people may think. But significant challenges remain.
"As the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria has high aspirations, and rightly so. However, Nigeria also faces many challenges such as poverty, income inequality, unemployment, etc. Every effort should be made to effectively reduce these challenges, which have far reaching effects on the overall economy and peaceful coexistence.
"Transforming the economy through industrialisation is the way to exit out poverty, create jobs and reduce inequality. In transforming the economy, three crucial policy priorities can help Nigeria in addressing these challenges.
"These priorities can be done through building good infrastructure, strong institutions and people (skills) and we must ensure that the private sector invests in Nigeria in four key areas- agro, construction and light manufacturing industry.
"These are the areas Nigeria has raw resources. The raw materials that we have, we export them in the raw form and state those people that will process them and put them in the manufacturing sector that will create jobs."
In his speech, NSChE president said the theme captures Nigeria's current psyche and indeed that of the chemical engineers who are yearning for rapid industrialisation of the nation.