The Institute of Directors (IoD) has stressed the need for a business- friendly environment to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the Nigerian economy.
Dr Ije Jidenma, IoD President, made the call at the Institute’s 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday in Lagos.
Jidenma noted a recent report by Rand Merchant Bank (RMD), which ranked Nigeria as the second most attractive investment destination in Africa seven years ago, showed that the country had slipped to 14th position.
She said that the country attracted $6.7 billion as capital inflows from foreign countries in 2021.
The value, the IoD president said, represented a drop of 31 per cent when compared with $9.7 billion recorded in the previous year leading to the lowest inflows since 2016.
Jidenma said that lower foreign inflows if persist would put more pressure on the nation’s external reserve; a situation that could further weaken the exchange rate.
“Hence, the Nigerian government needs to improve Nigeria’s export capacity to earn foreign exchange to meet our import bill obligations and bolster our foreign reserve level,” she said.
Jidenma also called for a new model of governance in which political leadership would be based on the knowledge and competence of both political leaders and the electorate to drive the country to greatness.
According to her, an overhauled system of governance built on the foundation laid by the nationalist political leaders would help reduce the erosion of public trust in the democratic institutions.
“At the core of Nigeria’s systemic challenges is the crisis of governance, which manifests in the declining capacity of the state to cope with a range of internal political and social upheavals.
“For the system to work in Nigeria, there must be significant improvement in literacy levels so that citizens are educated about the issues and can use their knowledge to make informed decisions about Nigeria’s political future.
“As the voice of Corporate Governance in Nigeria, the Institute of Directors in 2021 engaged in various advocacy programmes in this regard,” she said.
Jidenma revealed that IoD under her administration recorded a total income of N428.31 million in 2021 against N239.25 million achieved in 2020, representing an increase of 79 per cent.
She added that the institute continued to wax strong in spite of the challenges of the prevailing economic and social environment in Nigeria.
“The institute has achieved a lot from our collaborative efforts and partnerships in the year under review.
“Our relevance in the Nigerian business community through advocacy for corporate governance and ethical business behaviour in the public and private sectors has continued to soar.
“We owe our past leaders a debt of gratitude, and I think their legacies and achievements will be best preserved if we all continue to join hands to maintain an enduring institution that conforms to best global practices and standards.
“As we continue to implement and fine-tune our five-year strategic plan, there is no doubt that IoD is an organisation in transition,” she said.
She pledged the institute’s readiness to continue to leverage its existing strategic partnerships and alliances with professional organisations, to explore and deepen networking and information flow opportunities.
“We are also forging new strategic alliances needed to accelerate the achievement of our aims to reposition IoD Nigeria for relevance locally and globally,” she said. (NAN)