Sanusi, Okonjo-Iweala differ on FDI inflow

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, lamented the dwindling Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in the country and depletion of foreign buffers, Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that Nigeria attracted over $7 billion in FDI last year, which earned her the number one destination for investments in Africa.

According to Sanusi, not only does Nigeria experience depleting FDIs, its foreign reserves and excess crude account are seriously dwindling.

The apex bank governor who spoke to newsmen at the end of the 93rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday also attributed the decrease in the reserves level largely to a slow down in portfolio and FDI flows in the fourth quarter of 2013 resulting in increased funding of the foreign exchange market by the CBN to stabilise the currency.

The CBN, he said, expressed concern over the continued depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA), which balance stood at less than $2.5 billion on January 17, 2014 compared with about $11.5 billion in December 2012.

“This absence of fiscal buffers increased our resilience on portfolio flows thus, constituting the principal risk to exchange stability, especially with uncertainties around capital flows and oil price,” he said.

But while speaking at the 2014 Budget Breakdown in Abuja on Monday, Okonjo-Iweala also countered Sanusi’s assertion when she said that since the launch of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), which spelt out a strategic plan for Nigeria’s industrialisation, Nigeria has attracted over $7 billion in FDI and was named the number one destination for investments in Africa by United Nations Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD).

According to her, some of the important investments include $250 million investments by Procter and Gamble in Ogun State; $40 million in agricultural projects by Dominion Farms in Taraba State; $1.2 billion in fertilizer and petrochemicals by Indorama; a $200 million steel plant by Kam Industries in Ilorin and another $9 billion investment in petrochemicals and refinery complex by the Dangote Group.

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