A public policy and governance analyst, Dotun Seyingbo, has stated that states should stop looking for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) since they don’t have control over the macroeconomic situation in the country.
Speaking during a webinar series to a report by the Analysts Data Services and Resources (ADSR) titled ‘The Socio-Economic Scorecard of Nigerian States (2023 Baseline Edition), Seyingbo said states should instead focus on improving the economic conditions of domestic businesses in their domain.
Seyingbo said: “What is the current business within your jurisdictions, how are they faring and doing? That should be the question we need to ask. Creating a supportive environment for new and innovative businesses, this idea of going after foreign investment, I think is a misplaced priority.
He said States would also have to think more in terms of what areas they can control. “What will influence a friend to bring FDI into your state is beyond your microeconomic condition and is more macro. Can you control that? What you can do is to focus on your domestic firms, grow them up to the point they can contribute to the global value chain and they can be the ones to help you attract FDI.”
He added that the state needs to be clearer on the outcomes they hope to see like more jobs, “this is because if there are more jobs then they can earn taxes from the jobs which affect their revenue.”
He also urged states to jettison the Ministry of Commerce and instead establish the Ministry of Entrepreneurship which would develop startups that would spring new businesses.
Earlier, the Chief Economist of ADSR, Dr. Afolabi Olowookere, said Lagos ranked first in its report having an overall score of 62.38 per cent which is higher than the average score of 45.65 per cent for all states.
“The strongest segment in Lagos is ICT infrastructure where it ranks 1st while the weakest is health where it ranks 28th. The state scores higher than average in ICT infrastructure, Industrialisation and Business Competitiveness, and capital importation, but lower in other segments. There is a serious link between industrialization and business competitiveness with economic performance and tied to that is capital importation and ICT infrastructure.”
He added that Lagos was followed by FCT, Oyo and Rivers State while at the bottom is Yobe, Taraba, Zamfara and Ebonyi States.