The Consul General of the US High Commission, John Bray has said the debacle between the Federal Government and MTN would halt foreign investments in Nigeria.
Also, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, described the situation as damaging to the Nigerian economy.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in August mandate MTN to refund to the Federal Government $8,134,312,397.63 reportedly repatriated to South Africa illegally.
Bray and Beaufils spoke on Thursday in Lagos at the 2018 International Investment Conference organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to Bray, “Apparently things are being resolved, but once you make an announcement like that (order to repatriate the funds), there are probably guys sitting back there and waiting to get on the plane and fly back to the JFK and say, I am not investing again.”
He added that “we just want to get more investors here and part of that is improving the regulatory environment, improving infrastructure and dampening their fears about insecurity.”
On her part, Beaufils said “investors are interested in regulations, policies and strategies, but ultimately, they look at signals like that and I think that was damaging.
“I think most people in Nigeria recognise that that was very damaging.
“There is a lot that is being done to address that and we are aware of that but sadly, investors also go beyond the headlines of such stories and my key point today is that we have to avoid such rash decisions at all cost in the interest of further investments that are absolutely essential to the economic development of the country, to job creation and to the vision that we all have of an incredibly rich and vibrant Nigeria.”
Beaufils added that Nigeria “was very important to the United Kingdom from [an] investment perspective, noting that the recent coming of the British Prime Minister to Nigeria was a confirmation of that fact.”