Nigeria’s investment inflow had surged to $5.854 billion in the first quarter of 2020
with experts warning that the ravaging coronavirus pandemic could wipe out gains, if precautionary measures were not taken.
In a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the total value of capital inflows into Nigeria stood at $5.854 billion in the first quarter of 2020, representing a 53.97 percent increase compared to $3.802 billion recorded in Q4 2019.
There are however, fears that the second quarter might take a downward spiral owing to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Bureau of Statistics’s report which was released on Tuesday indicated that the largest volume of capital importation by type was received through Portfolio investment at $4. 309 billion, accounting for 73.61 percent of total capital importation.
This was followed by Other Investment, which accounted for 22. 73 percent at $1.33 billion of total capital, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which accounted for 3.66percent $214.25million of total capital imported in Q1 2020.
Johnson Chukwu, CEO, Cowry Asset Management speaking to Businessday said that the increase recorded in the quarter is commendable but not good enough as a huge percent of the investment was in portfolio investment which adds little or no effect to economic growth.
“It is not so good to see that only 3.66 percent was invested in Foreign Direct investment, while the huge amount was in portfolio investment, that is liquid money and can leave at any time, which may have left in Q2 due to the covid 19”.
He further said that there would be a huge decline in the inflows in the next quarters of the years. “We should expect a huge drop in Q2, Q3 because the pandemic with its uncertainties would have caused many of these funds to be withdrawn from the system”.
“The first quarter as we see did not really reflect the effect of the COVID 19, but we should brace up for a huge decline capital inflow for the main time”.
In his views, Chijioke Ekechukwu, former Director-General, Abuja chamber of commerce believes that the increase was as a result depreciation of Naira within the period which aided more capital inflow but really does not lead to a positive economic growth considering the direction of the investment.
He further said that the next quarters might not yield so much due to the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we know the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen on all economics of the world, and Nigeria is no exemption.
“It is time for us to get our policies right, put in our best as a nation to hit our economy running because we may not be receiving capital inflows in the nearest future due to the COVID 19 crisis”.
As contained in the NBS report, United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in Q1 2020 with $2.90 billion, accounting for 49.68percent of the total capital inflow in Q1 2020.
“Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited emerged at the top of capital investment in Nigeria in the period with $1.65billion, representing 28.30 percent of the total capital inflow in Q1 2020”.
“By Destination of Investment, Lagos state emerged as the top destination of capital investment in Nigeria
in Q1 2019 with $5.135 billion, this accounted for 87.72percent of the total capital inflow in Q1 2020”.
Looking ahead, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, said “It is not possible to see such an increase in Q2, as all economy was hit by the pandemic”.
“As nations begin economic activities, it is the time to begin to build up all that was lost to the pandemic, but as we know this is not so in Nigeria, with the continued mismanagement of funds and frequent borrowings which have not created an opportunity for growth”.
“We may see a continuous decline in capital inflows going forward, especially for the diaspora inflows,” Rafsanjani stated.
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