Home More Explainers How Nigeria can Unlock $900bn ‘dead capital’ – PWC
Explainers - Finance - Profiles - July 2, 2019

How Nigeria can Unlock $900bn ‘dead capital’ – PWC

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has urged Nigeria to unlock a $900billion worth of dead capital to increase its economic activities and stimulate growth.

‘Dead capital’ is a coinage by Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist, who defined it as assets that cannot be converted to economic capital.

In a new report titled, ‘Bringing dead capital to life – What Nigeria should do,’ PwC valued the amount of dead capital in residential real estate and agricultural sectors in Nigeria, which it said: “holds at least $300billion or as much as $900billion worth of dead capital in residential real estate and agricultural lands.

The report noted that the high-value real estate market sector held between $230billion and $750billion in value, while the middle market carried between $60billion and $170billion.

Also, according to the report, “Approximately 95 per cent of household dwellings in Nigeria have no title or a contestable title,” although the country’s population is projected at 200 million and 40 million families with five members each.

PwC pointed out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) recent report on Nigeria, concluded that the country was set to experience an incremental decline in income per capital over the next eight years, through 2022.

Also Read: Nigerian economy is doing badly – IMF

This decline, it explains, it said is a result of slow GDP growth exceeded by a population growth rate that is not expected to slow in the near future. The population is expected to reach 263 million by 2030. In contrast, GDP is growing at a slower and less consistent rate, averaging 1.4 per cent since 2016.

“In order to circumvent this projected crisis, Nigeria requires more investment in critical areas that directly impact economic growth. Heavy investment in infrastructure, coupled with structural reforms, will loosen domestic and foreign capital, allowing more businesses to thrive. In the long run, investing in human capital will yield economic prosperity by overriding high unemployment in a large population.”

The PwC report also noted that lack of access to finance is a major contributor to persistent poverty.

“Presently, a large proportion of Nigeria’s population operate in the informal sector by living in informal dwellings and/or working in the informal sector. For many, the costs accrued in the formal sector outweigh the benefits. However, this creates a large stock of dormant assets. Capital is scarce in societies with a large stock of dormant assets.

“Land tenure system in Nigeria is still largely in the communal and informal sectors. Sporadic efforts by the government on the formalisation of property rights through the certificate of occupancy in cities like Lagos have yet to meet the intended goal.”

It added that land ownership had been quite a stressful process as a result of the complex land tenure system, as the Land Use Act had failed to establish a uniform land tenure system that would govern ownership in the country.

According to the report, about 97 per cent of land in Lagos is unregistered, and makes it difficult for banks to validate claims to land or for land occupants to use their land to create wealth.

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