The founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu, yesterday said Nigeria’s economy is headed in the right direction, describing 2016 as a terrible year for the economy.
Elumelu, who said this in an interview monitored on CNN yesterday, also disclosed that his Group would in the next few weeks, close a $2.5 billion oil asset acquisition deal in the country.
According to him, “things are changing in Nigeria and it appears our economic managers have finally gotten a strong grip on the economy.”
The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc, however, pointed out that there was still room for improvement, stressing that as an investor in several sectors in the Nigerian economy, “I see improvement and I am optimistic about the future.”
“Oil prices going up is good and encouraging. Our group is in the process of closing a $2.5 billion oil asset acquisition in the country. We are doing this as a demonstration of confidence in the economy. If the economy was not good or improving, we would not be contemplating that.
“The truth is that in 2016, we had a bit of challenge with capital control, but in 2018, we don’t have such any more. Access to dollar is now easy. I speak as someone who invests significantly in Nigeria.
“Raising $2.5 billion for investment would not come through if the foreign investors were scared about capital control,” he explained.
According to Elumelu who is also the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, a lot of investors outside the country don’t have enough information about Nigeria.
He stressed the need for policymakers to continue to take steps towards improving Ease of Doing business in the country so as to attract more capital inflow.
“I am a long-term investor, i was born in Africa and I made my money in Africa and i am happy to invest in Nigeria and other African countries.
“Today we have investments in 23 African countries. Ultimately, we keep making investments because it helps in creating wealth,” he added.
When asked about the sectors he is excited about, Elumelu said: “I am excited about oil and gas and I am excited in banking, most importantly, power. Power is important for me because Nigeria and Africa needs power to develop.
“Our group is the largest generator of electricity in Nigeria. But we can do more. We just need the debt we are owed in that sector. So, If I was to complain, I would complain about the debts owed us as power operator.
“In other sectors, I think things are improving. I think the CBN particularly has gotten the grip on the economy and a lot of windows and markets have been created for investors who want to bring in money into Nigeria and those who want to take out money from the country.
We should keep encouraging investors because we need massive investments in Nigeria to develop, to help create employment for our young ones and to help us alleviate poverty,” he added.