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Microsoft did damage to Nigeria’s FDIs’ drive by that relocation statement—Experts

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Industry analysts have taken a swipe on the management of Microsoft, not just for deciding to move its announced Nigeria bond $30bn twin data centre investment to South Africa, but for issuing a worldwide statement capable of misleading other deep pocket investors across the world on Nigeria’s investment climate.

It would be recalled that each data centre according to the size and budget, will generate about 10,000 jobs directly and more indirectly.

Business Hilights recall that Microsoft did not commence on camera, but released a statement, saying it preferred South Africa, after announcing Nigeria because of availability of the necessary infrastructure needed for the entire data centres and the skilled labour to man the investments.

The project is not about Nigeria originally. It’s a $75bn investment for three countries in Africa of which Nigeria was to enjoy $30bn for two data centre because we have the market in Africa.

In an interview, an ICT expert, Mr. Benjamin Semola said “The Microsoft diversion of the investment to South Africa is a sad story. That is a big loss for Nigeria”.

“The implications of the failed FDI and the global statement explaining the diversion are enormous. What we lost is not just investment, but the investment credulity and destination as a nation.

Continuing, he said “This is so because, right from the time Microsoft has come out to say that we lacked the infrastructure and skilled manpower that will help its business, some other Silicon Valley investors looking for areas to invest in Africa will equally divert interest away from Nigeria because they do not need another feasibility study to take decision after Microsoft”.

Corroborating Semola’s views, another IT investor who pleaded anonymity said “Leading global ICT investors in the class of Microsoft may not need additional forensic or consultant report to take investments away from Nigeria”.

“All they need to do is to leverage on the decision of Microsoft to dump Nigeria and that is too bad for an economy looking for investors and in recession.

“This is the worst multiplier effect of the Microsoft decision to divert the investment multibillion dollar investment from Nigeria to South Africa.

The investor was however quick to note that “Infrastructure is very key. Currently we lack the energy to drive heavy industry. We have not gotten the data to drive. We have not gotten the security for personnel”.

“We are not even sure of the multiple taxation they are going to face on arrival from the area of physical location, and agencies in the sector. There is also fear land documentation before the company development and during the running of the data centres. There are going to be other impediments especially in the host communities.

Others who replied to our correspondents questionnaires on the impacts of the Microsoft statement called on government and the Minister of Communications in particular, to begin a global campaign that will launder the image of the country in attracting ICT investors as soon as possible.

Many contributors believed that such new campaign will rubbish the impression already created by the Microsoft statement that Nigeria is not fit to welcome deep pocket investments in the ICT sector.

It would be recalled that the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta had during a recent programme in Lagos disclosed that ICT sector remained the highest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But the recent Microsoft comment, according to observers may weaken the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the economy as several investors in the rank of Microsoft may wish to rely on the observations of Microsoft.

Efforts to get reactions from NITDA failed at press time.


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