The inaugural edition of the Business Barometer: Nigeria CEO Survey by the global research and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG), suggests that investor confidence on the rise in the country

As part of its latest survey, which was undertaken in partnership with Deloitte Nigeria, OBG asked more than 100 high-level executives from across the country’s industries a wide-ranging series of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging business sentiment. The findings are now available to view at OBG’s Editors’ Blog

OBG’s first-time Business Barometer: Nigeria CEO Survey was launched last Thursday in Lagos during a Deloitte in Dialogue conference, titled “Nigeria Economic Outlook 2018

Attended by several government ministers and about 200 CEOs, the conference, which was held at Deloitte Nigeria’s premises in Lagos, considered the outlook for the national economy in 2018, while also charting its resilience through the recession. Keynote speakers at the conference included: Dr. Doyin Salami of Lagos Business School, Mr. Ben Akabueze, the Director General of Budget office of the Federation, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, Dr. Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Services. The West Africa CEO of Deloitte, Mr. Fatai Folarin and Deloitte’s West Africa Tax Leader, Mr. Yomi Olugbenro and other senior business leaders were also in attendance.

Deloitte’s West Africa CEO, Fatai Folarin, said at the event that “Deloitte strongly believes in the ‘Nigeria project’ and has a strategic priority of actively promoting and supporting government policies and initiatives that are geared towards economic growth and development”. He reiterated Deloitte’s motivation as transcending profits, because the Firm measures success by the impact it make in the society.

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From the respondents surveyed by OBG, 84% described their expectations for local business conditions in the coming 12 months as either positive or very positive. Three-quarters also said they were likely or very likely to make a major investment in the approaching year.

However, the survey also highlighted some of the key challenges that business leaders face. These included borrowing, with 90% of those surveyed rating access to credit as either difficult or very difficult. In addition, three-quarters of CEOs described their level of satisfaction with suppliers and service providers as either low or very low.

In response to a question on attributes needed for the workplace, just over half (58%) cited leadership as the skill most in need, ahead of research and development, and engineering.

Commenting on the results, Souhir Mzali, OBG’s Regional Editor for Africa, said that while Nigeria was hit particularly hard by the fall in oil prices, recent developments, such as a rise in the stock exchange’s All Share Index, power reforms and increases in staple crop production, suggested that the country was now eyeing a new phase of sustainable growth.

“Clearly, there are still plenty of issues to tackle if Nigeria is to stoke growth to pre-2014 levels, or indeed higher, notably access to finance,” she said.