By Suleiman Umaru
The two bold economic decisions taken by President Bola Ahmed at the early stage of the Administration that has to do with the removal of subsidy on Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol and the unification of the country’s multiple exchange rate system which has encouraged the Royal Dutch oil giant , Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, which had divested from the onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta region in 2021, to make U-turn by agreeing to pump billions of the North American country of the United State dollars into the deep offshore waters appears to have opened the door way for other foreign investors to come in.
The most recent of such foreign investors that has declared its interest to invest on the Nigerian economy was the Bank of America, BOA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, and an American multinational Investment bank and Financial services Holding Company described as the second largest Financial Institution in the US,
The bank was said to have expressed their willingness ‘’to support the ruing All Progressive Congress, APC, Administration of Tinubu. It was said to have promised to support the government with ‘’ideas to enhance the country’s foreign exchange market, enhance partnerships in new methodology, applications, climate change solutions and deployment of global resources to the country’’. The US, Bank may have taken the bold initiative to support the Nigerian government so that the country can take its pride of place in the global stage on these issues.
The BOA officials may have shocked the Nigerian government when they revealed that Nigerians savings in foreign banks are enough ‘’to propel the nation’s economy, increase employment and reduce poverty’’, which has been championed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the Leadership of Bashir Jamoh, for the launching of the Blue Economy over the last three years in the country.
Bearnard Mensah, President, BOA, International, was said to have told the Nigerian President during a recent visit with his team that the bank has a ‘’lot of global resources that can help the Nigerian economy to grow’’. The BOA team was said to have also made it clear to the Nigerian President that the financing and liquidity of the forex market in the country requires to be in the hands of Nigerians.
The BOA International, President, had said that with the partnership that would be forged with the Nigerian government, he sees the value of the naira to the dollar settling at N680.00 by the end of 2023. He had said that with the unification of the exchange rates, the country’s currency has moved from being overvalued to being undervalued. He is optimistic that the value of the naira would be stronger and appreciating in the months ahead.
An elated Mensa, whose bank is gradually entering into the Nigerian market, had said that with a higher oil exports of $12 billion or more, this year and a liberalized increase in non-oil exports to the tune of $10 billion , it can still result in consistent current account surpluses over the Medium Term .
Given the rumours making the rounds in the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, circles , that the Nigerian President travel to t could not to the US, because of alleged criminal records not many had expected an American Bank to be allowed by the government to support’s Tinubu’s government, let alone promise to partner with it.
The decision by the US, Bank to partner with the Nigerian government under Tinubu’s Leadership and his unhindered visits to the country between 2011 and 2021, clearly shows that he has no criminal records in any Court in the US, as alleged and that is why the US, government and the country’s Financial Institutions are ready to help the Nigerian government to rescue the economy by pumping enough forex into system.
Wale Edun, a onetime Commissioner of Finance in Lagos state during Tinubu’s era as he governor of the state and now Special Adviser on Monetary policies, had said that the government will review the issues raised by the US, bank, to further improve the economy, stressing that it is a work in progress that’’ requires more planning to boost the nation’s economic policies’’.
In apparent response to the BOA’s decision to help Nigeria in various capacities such as partnering, Edun, who may have spoken the mind of the President was said to have asked the bank and other Multilateral Financial Institutions in the US, to help Nigeria to grow by partnering with it, noting that it is the only way ‘’to ensure that the country’s gas compete favourably in the global market as a viable source of alternative revenue ’’.
Recall that Tinubu had at the early stage of the Administration stated that ‘’the challenges facing the country cannot only be addressed by fiscal and institutional reforms without the help of other willing financial institutions. He was said to have made the BOA team to understand that Nigeria being the most populous country in the African Continent has ‘’ the largest economy’’.
Many believe that the US, Bank, with the support of President Joe Biden, who is seeking a second term in office, may have thrown its weight behind the Tinubu’s Administration in order to play a major role in the country’s economy this time around as the Asian country of China’s Development Bank, did during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
The then former Katsina state born Nigerian President did everything within his powers to attract the Corporate America to invest their money in Nigeria. He was said to have told the American Corporate Council on Africa, CCA, and officials of the ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment that investors in the country would have access to new markets under the African Continental Free Trade Area , AfCTA, that would connect over 1.3 billion people across the 55 countries and Consumer market that will be worth over $3 trillion by 2023 and a combined Gross Domestic Product, GDP, valued at $3.4 trillion in 2025, but that was how far he could go.
Being the largest economy in Africa, the US, government and firms would not want a repeat of what happened during the Buhari’s Administration where companies from the country could not find their footing in Nigeria, this time around. T was not surprising why the BOA, equivalent of the China Development Bank, has offered to help and partner with the Nigerian government in its development drive.
Given that the former Nigerian President could not get the US investors to put their money in Nigeria may have given room for the Chinese investors to fully establish their presence in almost every sector of the Nigerian economy ranging from construction, food and beverages, beauty, products assembling plants among others.
This is evident going by the number of the Chinese Companies in Nigeria over the last eight years which include the China Civil Engineering Construction Company Limited, CECC, El-alan Construction Company, Chinaville Chinese Restaurant, North China Construction Nigeria Limited, Vitex China Nigeria Limited-Tractor Dealer in Lagos, Nigeria, Chinese lobal Develoment and Construction Company, China Harbour Engineering Company Nigeria Limited, CHEC and Tugrow 1688 Logistics.
This is in addition to Jade Palace Chinese Cusine, Golden Gate Restaurant, Chai Tiang Restaurant Chinige Technology Services Nig. Limited, Jiu Hua Nigeria Co. limited and Huwei Technologies Company Nigeria Ltd. The Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre and the Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone ,OFTZ, in Igbessa, Ogun , home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that were said to have been established by the help of the Chinese government and firms.