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A New Path for Nigeria

Now that President Buhari has won the election in Nigeria, there are real opportunities to improve the Nigerian economy, attract new foreign investment to Nigeria, and signal a new direction for economic policy. These opportunities need to be urgently undertaken. There is always an opportunity at the beginning of the term of a new administration for creative ideas to take effect. We have laid out how this might be achieved and some key areas where Nigeria could make improvements.

You can read the full paper, with a Foreword by Home Secretary of the UK Priti Patel, here – below is a short summary of its main arguments and proposals.

These reforms and actions are not exhaustive – but focus on achievable policy actions that can be taken to improve the investment climate in Nigeria, improve opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and consumers, and send a strong signal that the new government is committed to building a more open economy, based on the rule of law and sound policymaking.

Specific recommendations contained within the paper include the following:

  • Nigeria must prepare for a coming shift in international development assistance: the UK is among several countries moving towards a U.S.-type Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) model based on rule of law and open investment climate
  • Outstanding legal claims against the Nigerian government represent a significant risk factor for foreign investors: these cases should be settled early in the new government’s term
  • One case alone – the “P&ID” case – represents over 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves and is a significant threat to investor confidence if not settled• Local Content Rules (LCRs) harm Nigerian consumers and encourage corruption and cronyism: these should be removed wherever possible
  • ECOWAS tariff schedules remain too high: Nigeria should work with its neighbours to reduce ECOWAS tariffs to benefit domestic consumption
  • Nigeria should accede to the WTO’s GPA Agreement, and adopt a more transparent approach to regulation and public procurement
  • The use of Special Economic Zones should be encouraged as a mechanism for testing economic reforms at local level and boosting foreign direct investment
  • Respect for the rule of law must be reinforced across Nigeria, starting at the highest levels of government, if  corruption, a scourge on Nigeria’s young democracy, is truly to be reduced
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