OBG talks to Mustafa Bello, CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)

Mustafa Bello, CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)

Interview: Mustafa Bello

What major trends are you seeing in the source and direction of foreign direct investment (FDI)?

MUSTAFA BELLO: Despite fluctuations in capital outflows from Europe and North America following the economic crisis of 2008, they remain integral to Nigeria’s aspiration of attracting FDI flows of more than $13bn a year. Europe in particular represents an important source of private capital in Nigeria. For example, five European countries were represented in the top 10 source markets with the highest new capital inflow to Nigeria in 2012, with the UK accounting for about 60% of the total.

Moreover, non-oil activities are also becoming increasingly important in attracting capital, constituting an average of 70% of fresh capital injected into the economy annually over the last three years. This indicates that more of the foreign investment inflow in the oil and gas sector is re-invested earnings. When it is passed, the Petroleum Industry Bill, along with the National Industrialisation Plan, will also play a role in enhancing the possibilities of value-chain development across the spectrum, further integrating non-oil activities with the hydrocarbons industry.

At the same time, the Nigerian capital market continues to grow quickly and garner international recognition. More and more multinational companies are listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, using it as a litmus test to measure the competitiveness of the economy as a whole. To stimulate further foreign investment, the government must build on its successful creation of an enabling environment by developing infrastructure, reinforcing the rule of law and ensuring a safer social environment in which investors can do business.

How is the NIPC working with state governments to enhance investment opportunities in their regions?

BELLO: The NIPC has partnered with state governments to develop investment promotion agencies (IPAs) that can better serve the needs of investors. While the policy has been widely accepted by most states, including Cross River, Niger, Delta, Bayelsa, Ogun, Plateau and Rivers, the response has been slightly slower than initially hoped. Each state is at a varying phase of implementation, with some still at the formulation stage while others have already established active IPAs. Each state government is able to determine investment incentives in light of its own competitive advantages and priorities. These may be different from the ones already administered by government at the federal level. This range of incentives ranges from land concessions to tax holidays and provision of infrastructure.

The NIPC has also been at the forefront of addressing the issue of multiple taxation regimes. This has always been a major challenge for investors. Accordingly, the NIPC has used its clout and influence in various fora, including the National Committee on Doing Business, the Honorary International Investor Council and the annual National Conference on Investment to advocate for investors on this and other issues.

In what way can public-private partnerships (PPPs) be leveraged to attract new investment?

BELLO: Nigeria needs investment of more than $100bn over the next six years for projects including roads, electricity, oil and gas, housing, and railways. The service commitments towards these works are colossal, and require not only the financial but also technical knowledge of investors in all sectors of the economy.

To attract more private sector engagement with regards to PPPs, Nigeria must develop healthier legislative practices to allow the private sector to flourish. This is why the federal government has approved a National Policy on Public-Private Partnership, providing a more congenial regulatory and institutional framework.

Of course, while Nigeria has come a long way in boosting the confidence of international investors, there is still much that can be done if we are to actualise our economic vision for the future. There is no doubt that the NIPC remains committed to working with all tiers of government to execute the reforms needed to make PPPs successful throughout the country.


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The Report: Nigeria 2013

Economy chapter from The Report: Nigeria 2013

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