Foreign companies task Nigeria on improvement of business environment

…say they’re cautiously optimistic about Nigeria’s economy By Prisca Sam-Duru & Vera Anyagafu

Austrian, German and Switzerland Business Outlook (AGSBO) for 2017 has revealed that foreign companies operating in Nigeria are not finding the business environment conducive for the expansion of their businesses. Although the AGS companies described the business environment as very bad, they noted that they are cautiously optimistic that the situation will improve by 2018. The AGS, survey was conducted by WFO Rodl & Partner Advisor Limited while the report was presented at the AGS 2017 Business Outlook in Lagos by Olanrewaju Yusuf, Associate Director, Advisory Services, WFO Rodl & Partner Advisor Limited. Poor electricity supply was noted as the major challenge undermining their businesses in Nigeria while foreign exchange storage, security, corruption, oil price and transportation remain additional challenges to doing business. Consul General of Switzerland, Lagos, Yves Nicolet, said the challenges Swiss companies face in Nigeria are similar to those faced by Austria and German companies. “We all face problem in this country but also we are interested in what kind of successes can be obtained. It is really important to know how Swiss see the future of economy in Nigeria and through this survey we received a lot of information which can help us try to improve our businesses and also counsel new companies that would like to penetrate the Nigerian market. “I’m very happy that Swiss companies participated in this survey. Switzerland has over 45 companies in Nigeria and most of them registered in Lagos, in many sectors. We have companies dealing in pharmaceutical products, agric sector, financial sector and constructions. I thank Swiss companies who informed us about their conditions in their host country and their efforts in trying to improve Nigeria and Swiss relationship in the economic sector. We are also helping Nigerians who are trying to establish companies in my country,” he said. Also, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Lagos, Mr Ingo Herbert stated that despite the challenges the companies are cautiously optimistic about the future of Nigeria’s economy through mid-2018. His words, “The government’s reform efforts came amidst a challenging macroeconomic background, with drops in foreign exchange and public revenues, lower oil prices and slowing headline growth. The government had pushed for a strong stimulus, with a $25 million infrastructure fund and a budget heavy on spending to boost the economy. Despite these difficulties, Nigeria remains a destination for savvy investors looking for long-term growth and returns on the continent. The country is richly endowed with enormous human and natural resources and we remain optimistic that the government will perceive these current challenges as a long-term opportunity to start diversifying the economy and focus on the huge untapped potential of the non-oil sector.” He described the AGS Business Outlook as an event aimed to be a recurring annual exercise that will provide an insight to interested stakeholders and political decision makers doing business in the country, stressing that “It will also be a means of dialogue with the federal government to bring to their attention difficulties being experienced by the international private sector operating in Nigeria. AGS enterprises are committed to continue partnering with Nigeria to improve the overall business environment exemplifies by the ease of doing business ranking. Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy, Lagos, Nella Hengstler, pointed out that Austrian businesses in Nigeria have been making impact in the last couple of years. “We have a good relationship with Nigeria and no matter the economy outlook we will continue to do business in Nigeria. I think my vision for Nigeria is once the infrastructure comes on track and electricity works, manufacturing will happen in Nigeria again.”

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