Nigeria launches online investors’ guide on Thursday
Abuja, May 15, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) will on Thursday formally launch the country’s online investors’ guide.
The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Yewande Sadiku, said the portal, which is already running, could be accessed through the NIPC website.
She said the platform would allow investors from around the world have access from anywhere and at any time. Basic information would be available for potential investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Ms Sadiku said the online portal was part of a series of initiatives by the investment promotion agency towards investment facilitation in the country.
Through the online platform, she said investors would get information and regular updates about the latest economic indices from agencies, such as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), approvals from National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), infrastructure regulatory concession agency and others.
Operations at the one-stop investment centre established since 2006, have been updated to allow potential investors visit a single location to do a number of businesses with about 27 different federal and regional agencies, Ms Sadiku said.
Some of the services available through the centre include business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); obtaining Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) tax identification number (TIN) and certificate of business registration, among others.
She said officials from different sectors of the economy, like the Nigeria Immigrations Service and Nigeria Customs Service were also available at the centre with equipment to show the duties and rules applicable to investors dealing with them.
In 2017, the executive secretary said a compendium of incentives was produced in collaboration with FIRS to provide investors information on the various incentives available in Nigeria based on tax laws, duties and other sector specific benefits.
Although the reform of the pioneer status incentives was completed last year, Ms Sadiku said the report was yet to be made public until a validation process was completed.
The reform, which began in 2016, is to ensure greater transparency, accountability and better guidance to the pioneer status incentive process.
It was also to give greater clarity to the pioneer status incentive process, by sector, state, number of employees, others.
The pioneer status incentive approval process involves 12 stages, seven of which are with the NIPC, involving a period of 18 weeks.
Other five stages involve industrial inspectorate department of the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Investment over seven weeks.
Ms Sadiku said the NIPC was working with public sector partners, namely Finance and Investment Ministries, FIRS and NBS as well as other international agencies to carry out an impact assessment on pioneer status incentives.
She said the exercise would determine whether the incentives achieved the objectives for which they were approved in the different sectors of the economy.
Following the completion of the reform, the NIPC scribe said approval was given for additional incentives to the list, which has not been updated since its initial approval by the Executive Council of the Federation in 2006.
Also, a review of the regime of incentives is to be carried out on a biennial basis to determine what sectors or industries needed to be added or removed, based on their maturity levels.
While efforts would be sustained to continue attracting foreign direct investments to Nigeria, the executive secretary said the NIPC would not neglect its commitment to encourage Nigerians to invest in their country.
As part of that commitment, she said the NIPC was working with the NBS on a domestic direct investment drive aimed at tracking and collating information on investment opportunities to provide Nigerian investors a data base on the volume of investments from the country.
Since the beginning of this year, Ms Sadiku said her commission has been engaging with states’ investment promotion agencies to collate and profile investment opportunities across the country.
The arrangement, she said, was to give the states equal opportunity to showcase their potential to prospective investors.
This would ensure Nigerian investors were not made to become bystanders in the development of the investment potentials in the country.
Also, the commission was working with these agencies to harmonize their investment efforts to ensure both were working together in the same direction.
“There are a number of initiatives to strengthen the states to promote investments in their domains,” she said.
“These include the Nigerian investment Certification Programme for states, which involves states being taken through three standards on information, property and marketing.
“The commission also has a document that summarizes investment prospects for each State of the federation, showing the competitive advantages of each, investment opportunities and State demography as well as ease of doing business information.
Since January last year, she said, the NIPC began tracking the various investment announcements in the country on different sectors of the economy showing the investment information and interests in the country in the different quarters of the year.
Based on the data captured, she said quarterly reports were prepared highlighting areas of interest to investors to enable the Commission follow up on as they mature from announcement to investment opportunity.
In the first quarter of 2017, the report showed about 112 projects were tracked in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, valued at about $66.36 billion.
“These are only investment announcements. Not actual investments. It’s possible an announcement is made, MoU signed, but the investment that actually comes in is less than the amount that was originally announced or does not even happen at all,” she explained.
In the corresponding period in 2018, the report showed about $17.9 billion worth of investment opportunities in 32 projects across eight states were tracked.
This is about thrice the number tracked in same period in 2016 where only about $6.3 billion of investment announcements were made.
Details of the announcements showed that oil and gas accounted for 72 per cent, valued at $12.9 billion; services $4.5 billion, or 25.3 per cent; manufacturing $440 million, or 2.5 per cent and agriculture $10 million, or 0.1 per cent.
Announcement by country of origin basis showed that $9 billion, or 50.3 per cent of the investors came from the UK; followed by Nigeria ($4.21 billion) or 23.6 per cent; U.S. ($2.35 billion) or 13.2 per cent and China ($1.2 billion), or 6.7 per cent.
The report said announcements involving the states showed that the bulk was from Lagos ($3 billion), and then Ogun ($1.04 billion), Niger ($754.7 million), Gombe ($315 million) and Kano ($174.6 million).