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Nipc Stalls Nigeria’s Investment Drive

Nipc Stalls Nigeria’s Investment Drive

By Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

Nigeria’s investment drive has witnessed a stall following a significant decline in investment drive activities at the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), DAILY ASSET can authoritatively report.

This is even as officials at the NIPC which houses the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) have no clear idea of what has accrued to Nigeria in terms of financial inflows since the centre was set up.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Nigerian economy has witnessed several twists and turns. It has suffered from the persistent slump in oil prices in the global market, the quest to combat the depreciation of the Naira, unfavourable policies, insurgencies and other domestic crises.

All of these strains have made the business climate tough for investors, but above all, previous years’ huge investment drive appear to have been crippled at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) as a result of the lull in operations of the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC).

OSIC is an investment facilitation mechanism where relevant government agencies are brought to one location, coordinated and streamlined, to provide efficient and transparent services to investors. It is designed to shorten and simplify administrative procedures for the issuance of business approvals, permits and licenses and company incorporation thereby removing bottlenecks faced by investors in establishing and running business, and ultimately, reducing the cost of doing business in Nigeria. Additionally, the Centre is supposed to provide statistical data and information on the Nigerian economy, investment climate, legal and regulatory framework as well as sector and industry specific information to aid existing and prospective investors in making informed business decisions.

Twenty seven government agencies are represented at the OSIC with each of the agencies having a desk with officials at the NIPC, which houses the OSIC.

DAILY ASSET authoritatively learnt that the operations of the OSIC have long been crippled, with desk officers of relevant agencies who were part of the centre, moving back to their respective offices, leaving only a few behind. Even the routine international investment drives and road shows across the globe have since been rested, sources said.

Though still functional, the OSIC which was primarily set up to attract foreign investment, appears not to have attracted any significant revenue inflow over the last three years, as no tentative investment fact and figure about foreign direct investment to Nigeria could be obtained from the agency, upon enquiry.

This, it was gathered, is as a result of a slow down on the OSIC’s foreign investment drive, a situation insiders blamed on lack of visionary leadership.

Officials at the NIPC however told DAILY ASSET that the OSIC is tracking an investment inflow worth N66.89 billion, using the OSIC mechanism.

According to the Deputy Director, Strategic Communications, Hajja Gana Wakil, “It’s a planned investment flow (for Nigeria). It’s a potential investment for the country; (it’s not) yet attracted. It goes to show how attractive Nigeria is as an investment destination.”

She informed that the current Executive Secretary/CEO of NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, has realised what the Centre means for the country.

“OSIC has been energised to do more than it was doing in the past. When the ES (Sadiku) came in, she found out that OSIC investment would boost and strengthen the nation’s economy. Today, OSIC is more effective, strengthened and empowered to deliver (on its mandate),” she said.

The Head of OSIC, Lovina Baboryat Kayode, hinted of the Commission’s plan to make the Centre more effective.

“We are currently working to move OSIC from manual to electronic mode,” Kayode said.

Kayode hinted that the move would pave way for an interface with each of the 27 agencies that have found their way into the Commission.

“There will be a MoU between the Centre and each of the represented agencies. There is a level of authority that would be here (Centre) – that is what the MoU is all about,” she added.

Kayode revealed that there is a protocol that is yet to be signed.

“Going electronic would take us about 18 months; but the pact will be signed within the (18-month) period,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Business Registration for 2017 revealed that the African continent led in the number of companies that were registered by region.

The African continent was followed by Europe, Asia, America and Middle East.

On the registered companies by sector, services led, followed by manufacturing, energy/power, agriculture/agro allied, ICT, solid minerals, and construction/real estate.

The Top 10 activities of 2017 include: information (51 per cent), business registration (20 percent), expatriate quota (8 percent), visa facilitation (7 per cent), incorporation (5 per cent), stamp duty (5 percent), export license (2.3 per cent) and business permits (1.7 per cent).

“It shortens and simplifies administrative procedures for the issuance of business approvals, permits and licences, and company incorporation, thereby removing bottlenecks faced by investors in establishing and running businesses, and ultimately, reduces the cost of doing business in Nigeria,” an OSIC document said.

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