Nigeria summit underwhelms, stirs controversy at home

Nigeria's last-minute decision to scale down a massive delegation due at a business summit in London may have appeased some critics at home.

Nigeria summit underwhelms, stirs controversy at home

 

Nigeria's last-minute decision to scale down a massive delegation due at a business summit in London on Monday may have appeased some critics at home but it left foreign investors less than delighted.

President Goodluck Jonathan had been expected to lead dozens of ministers, state governors and government officials to the conference, where they were due to address issues from bank and power sector reforms to eradicating counterfeit drugs.

But Jonathan and most of the delegation pulled out amid criticism of profligacy over the planned trip, which would have come days after he returned from a G20 summit in Toronto.

"The president was in Canada and he was supposed to come to London on the 30th and meet the prime minister (David Cameron) on the 1st (of July), but that meeting was resolved in Canada so there was no need to come here," said Works and Housing Minister Sanusi Daggash, one of the few ministers to come.

Some investors who attended the event, billed as Nigeria's Golden Jubilee Summit to mark 50 years of independence from Britain, were unimpressed.

"It's a massive disappointment," said one European investment banker, who asked not to be named.

"They've got to realise that they're not the only boys on the block. This week I'll hear from Turkey, Indonesia all competing for money and it's only the ones who do the very best who win the prizes," he said.

Jonathan, who is widely expected to seek re-election in polls due by next April and is sensitive to public opinion, had been billed as the keynote speaker. Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke had been due to speak on the outlook for Nigeria's mainstay oil and gas industry.

"It's pretty embarrassing for the Nigerians that no one has come," said an independent Middle Eastern investor.

However, the Nigeria Labour Congress described the plans to send such a large delegation to London as a "national disgrace".

Presidential adviser Barth Nnaji outlined plans to improve regulation of the domestic power sector while credit ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch gave their views on the outlook for the banking sector.

"Nigeria has to compete with other markets to source their capital. Legal certainty, policy certainty, communication is critical in attracting international capital," said Mark Young, Managing Director of Financial Institutions at Fitch.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Haziran 2010, 22:46
YORUM EKLE