By Odunewu Segun
Nigeria lost $450bn worth of assets in 2016 due to withdrawal of some foreign firms from the country, according to the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.
The NACC said the affected firms suffered a combined loss of N64bn investment due to naira devaluation, inability to repatriate dollar at market friendly rates, unfavourable financial policies, high cost of doing business, poor operating environment, lack of sufficient skilled labour, infrastructural challenges, among others.
It listed some of the firms that closed their operations or left the country during the period as the United Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Truworths International Limited, Mitsui O.S.K Line, Messina Line, Nippon Yusen Kasha, Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and Ashmore Group Plc.
The National President, NACC, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, disclosed this during the chamber’s 2016 Annual General Meeting, adding that the closure of operating centres in Nigeria by foreign business owners had put additional strain on the economy.
“Over 800,000 people were put back into the labour market, with close to 700,000 job seekers applying for only 500 positions,” he said.
Famutimi added, however, that even as there were closures of businesses between first and second quarter of the year, a few other organisations had seen the potential in Nigeria and were willing to weather the storm.
He said, “Though the economic outlook for 2017 does not look encouraging, we are confident that growth will occur within the non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“As bilateral chamber of commerce, despite the gloomy economic downturn, we are constantly creating value and promoting business development between Nigeria and the United States.
“The USA remains Nigeria’s greatest and biggest trade partner with about $1.3bn of exports and $2.7bn in imports from January to August 2016.”