Potential international investors in Nigeria will be wary to deal with Nigerian authorities.
Any investor googling and searching the press in London, New York, Paris, Johannesburg will be more wary of putting their capital to work in Nigeria today more than ever before.
The reasons can be seen in today’s Financial Times, the UKs world respected business newspaper. It carries two stories about Nigeria.
The first is a continuation of Shell, Eni and Malabu debacle.
Whilst the story offers nothing new in terms of information on the deal, it gives oxygen in the form of column inches, to grand stories of Nigerian corruption.
This goes right down to the level of the details of Dutch investigators phone tapping executives of Shell to gather evidence of corruption.
Although both Shell and Eni paid funds only to the Nigerian government, they are being held accountable for how those funds were then disbursed among the corrupt officials and cronies.
This is the significant element.
The second story in the FT covers President Buhari’s announced investigation into alleged corruption in the disbursement of aid funds to the North East.
This also gives prime column inches to allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds, this time in the use of monies collected straight into the public coffers.
These stories put together feed the jaundiced view that international businessmen have of conducting business in Nigeria.
Not only are they scared of being ripped off in any deal, now they are scared of being phone tapped in order to be criminally prosecuted and sent to prison for aiding corruption.
This is more worrying when reading the comments of The World Banks chief Nigerian economist who stated yesterday that Nigeria needs to source more International debt at low interest as local debt at high interest was unsustainable.
Not much to disagree with in the comments – a statement of the blindingly obvious perhaps.
She lauded the recent Federal Government issue of Euro bonds as an excellent method of achieving this more advantageous borrowing.
If all these factors are put together, how long will it be before international bond investors are criminally prosecuted in their own countries for funding corruption through the buying of bonds in a known corrupt regime?
It’s not much of a leap and would be the death knell of money coming into the country.
At the very least, this additional coverage and prosecution concern among investors and their financiers must make it harder to attract money into Nigeria.
After all, if casting around for places to invest, why not go for Cote D’Ivoire instead?