GERMAN Consul General in Nigeria, Mr. Ingo Herbert has stressed the need for the Nigerian economy to diversify, stating that the country needs to create growth through more investment opportunities particularly in the construction industry.
The envoy said this would serve as a short-term measure to revive the economy and an exhibition of innovations in the industry represents one of such measures which can help Nigeria now and which are fully in line with what Nigeria needs.
Nigeria’s perceptible growth potentials and the imperatives of the diversification of her economy formed the focus of discussions by delegates at the occasion of the launch of the maiden edition of AfricaBuild, an international trade exhibition to showcase latest construction machinery and technology, building materials and interior finishing materials held at the Landmark Events Centre, Lagos, yesterday.
Held against the backdrop of huge investments into mega projects and a strong demand for affordable housing in Nigeria, the professionals present at the occasion, which include delegates from Turkey, Spain, Austria, German and Italy were unanimous in their convictions that the diversification of the Nigerian economy into other revenue generation platforms other than oil and gas and particularly the numerous opportunities available in the construction industry is panacea for the present ailing economy.
Ambassador of the European Union and Head of Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), Mr. Micheal Arrion, said it is important for European companies to look at Nigeria, to do business in Nigeria because she is the engine of West Africa economic and political declaration.
He noted that Nigeria is no longer aid-dependent but much more investment dependent. So, it is a necessity for Nigeria to attract foreign direct investment in particular from Europe.
Echoing this, President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Mr. Tijani B. Shu’aib, the special guest of honour, stated that Nigeria being Africa’s largest economy is also expected to become one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2050.
“Nigeria’s construction industry is currently worth around $69billion and employs five per cent of its 180 million population. Its construction industry has averaged 9.5per cent growth in last 5 years along with growing economy,” he added.
Director General of the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), Mrs. Olubunmi Adegoke, acknowledging the challenges in the construction industry under the present economic dispensation, said the times call for industry professionals to find alternative ways of financing projects. It is a chance to look the other way and get better.
The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Spain, Mr. Pablo Martinez Segrelles, noted that Lagos and Nigeria are important entities in the African continent and indeed the world as Lagos alone has an economy that is as big as the entire countries like Ghana or Tanzania.
President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mrs. Mercy Iyortyer, who also spoke at the occasion, said the organizers of the fair must be aware of the rate of devaluation and its impact on the economy of the country, which has brought an unprecedented increase in capital budget from 10per cent last year to 30 per cent this year.