Consortium laments high cost of doing business in Nigeria

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Foreign companies in Nigeria owned by Germans, Swiss and Austrians have expressed displeasure over the high cost of doing business in Nigeria.

The international consortiums said they would not be consolidating their operations if adequate measures were not put in place to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

This was made known in Lagos during the 2019 edition of the Austrian-German-Swiss Business outlook organised by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Alexandra Herr, the Deputy Consul-General, the Federal Republic of Germany, stated during her opening remarks that the partnership and relationship between Nigeria and Germany have been in existence for over 160 years, especially in the areas of agriculture, food processing and manufacturing.

“The relationship and partnership between the two countries have led to the existence of over 90 German firms in Nigeria.

Although Nigeria remained the economy with the highest potential in the sub-Sahara Africa, non-presence of critical infrastructure and non-viable policy framework had formed part of the major factors affecting the country’s ranking on the 2019 ease of doing business analysis.”

In her justification, Herr pointed out that these limitations have continued to hamper Nigeria’s economic fortunes, as well as the fall in the nation’s foreign direct investment.

Also speaking at the event, Mr. Yves Nicolet, the Consul-General of Switzerland, while lauding the efforts of organizers, said the Nigerian economy was showing serious signs of recovery as the Swiss firms in operation in Nigeria had climbed within a year to 54 from 45.

Mr. Hannes Scheiner, the Commercial Attaché of the Austrian Embassy, said the partnership between Nigeria and Austria has been smooth and beneficial. Mr Hannes further stated that Nigeria has remained Austria’s second largest trading partner in Sub-Sharan Africa, noting that the country’s export to Nigeria was around €80 million annually.

The foreign companies stated that some of the challenges they face as firms operating in Nigeria include:  the unavailability of critical infrastructure; access to forex; compliance to standard; corruption within the system; and the instability of policy, among others.

Nigeria ranks 146th out of the 190 countries in the world on the Doing Business Index, according to the World Bank. This indicates 52.89 points score out of a possible 100.

Having a feasible macroeconomic framework that can the business environment conducive, will, in turn, attract foreign investors. This will bring about the inflow of foreign capital into the economy, thus, leading to the accretion of the foreign reserves, foreign direct investment and will, in turn add to the nation’s gross domestic product.

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