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FG allays investors’ fears about Nigeria’s business climate




The Federal Government on Monday allayed the fears of potential European investors about the country’s business environment, reaffirming its commitment to a sustained conducive investment climate.

Mrs Uju Hassan-Baba, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), gave the assurance when the Head, European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion, visited her in Abuja.

Mrs Hassan-Baba said that the issue of investment climate was top on the agenda of the present administration, considering the urgent need for diversification of the nation’s economy.

She also attributed the recent decline in the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the last general elections and the current global economic and financial crunch.

It would be recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its capital importation report in June, said that the country’s FDI declined by 48.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.

The NIPC boss noted that it was normal for investment inflow to slow down given the uncertainties that surrounded the general elections and global economic crisis.

She, however, stated that things would improve from next year when the government must have fully settled down for business.

Mrs Hassan-Baba said that the NIPC was working vigorously with other relevant ministries and agencies to urgently address investors’ complaints about the business environment in line with a recent presidential directive.

She added that government, on its part, was vigorously tackling the issues of insecurity, corruption, unstable power supply and other pitfalls in the investment climate.

“Another issue bordering on the business climate is that of the rule of law, which is a basic requirement for investments in any country.

“I can assure you that this administration is hinged on the rule of law and application of due policy in whatever we don as agencies of government.

“The NIPC enabling law contains the legal framework, which offers protection, incentives and all the services needed by investors to easily set up in Nigeria.

“Our One-Stop Shop provides all the services that an investor will need, staring with the incorporation of a company to all the issues concerning processes and licensing.’’

Mrs Hassan-Baba emphasised that the NIPC was the country’s investment gateway, and urged all potential foreign investors to pass through the commission to avoid the pitfalls.

Earlier, Arrion expressed concern over the decline in the country’s FDI from a peak of 8.9 billion dollars in 2011 to 5.6 billion dollars in 2013.

He noted that as a result, Nigeria had been overtaken by South Africa and Mozambique which, according to him, accounted for 14.3 and 10.3 per cent of FDI in Africa.

According to him, Europe remains Nigeria’s most important partner with regard to FDI with Netherlands, France, UK and Italy accounting for 49 per cent of the country’s stock in 2013.

The EU delegation head noted that most of the impediments to European investments in Nigeria were related to the business climate rather than technical issues like financing.

He said, “I think the core issue is certainly the enabling environment, the business climate, the rule of law etcetera.

“High level officials or politicians at the federal and state levels do ask me to help them to attract European investments, and my reply is that the investors do not listen to me.

“Investors make their business plans and I am not the one to convince them to come do business in Nigeria.

“The only thing they really want to hear from us diplomats based in Nigeria is protection of their investments, the rule of law, the governance.’’

Arrion said that the visit was therefore aimed exchanging views with the NICP boss on how the EU could work with the commission to attract more European investments to Nigeria.

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