The 14th Honorary International Investor Council (HIIC) meeting was held between the 20th and 21th of June, 2013 at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
The two-day meeting was attended by Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the Vice President, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, GFR, the Coordinator of the Council, Baroness Lynda Chalker, the Economic Ministers led by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga and Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman and 10 members of the Council; Alec Erwin, Olivier Suinat, Haruki Hayashi, Guillaume Roux, Jim Ovia, Jacques Maraud des Grottes, Andrew Brown, Emmanuel Ijewere, David Haworth, Femi Otedola, Aliko Dangote, Umar Mutallab, Simon Harford, Sam Jonah.
The Council reviewed the state of the economy through presentations made by Council Members and the Economic Ministers. Council further offered suggestions on how to sustain the delivery of good governance, improve national and international perception, and increase private participation in the re-engineering of the economy.
i. commended the Administration on progress attained in the implementation of Council’s recommendations particularly those of developing performance matrix for the administration and all government agencies and departments;
ii. commended government for the proactive management of the economy that has stabilized currency against international currencies and curtailed the inflation rate within single digit during the last two years;
iii. commended government for focusing on the manufacturing sector and urged that its existing incentive regime including the 5 years tax holiday, and the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) be maintained to further support the sector to achieve the target of 20% contribution to GDP;
iv. commended the plans to transform the aviation industry which was hinged on a well thought-out visionary plan that proposes to make Nigeria a regional hub. It however urged government to restrict its involvement to setting standards while maximizing private sector participation in the sector; with minimal public sector participation.
vi. commended government for the successful privatization of the power sector, generation and distribution plants which had been internationally acknowledged to be one of the most transparent exercise;
vii. commended government on the efficient management of the 2012 flood disaster without experiencing food crisis;
viii. observed the growing unemployment rate and the rising number of poor skilled workforce which was associated with the poor state of the educational system. It therefore urged Federal Government to improve on its synergy with the other tiers of government and the industry in order to build basic education geared towards enhancing capacity of the workforce for industrialization of the economy;
ix. encouraged government to proactively sell positive story about Nigeria to the international audience through the media for the purpose of enhancing the image of the country as the preferred investment destination in Africa
x. noted the increasing interest shown by international investing community on the Nigerian economy; an indication of improved perception and confidence of the international community on the management of the Nigerian economy;
xi. noted the concerted effort by government that has considerably improved the security situation in the Northern part of the country. The Council however looked forward to timely restoration of normalcy in the region, in order to improve the country’s image internationally;
xii. noted the commitment of government to fighting corruption through the numerous programmes that have enhanced transparency in governance and plugged loopholes in the financial system which had hitherto facilitated financial crimes;
xiii. noted the need for Government CBI to focus on industrialization. It is a unique opportunity for the country. Nigeria should leverage on areas where it has competitive advantage e.g:
c. value addition for agricultural produce consumption domestically and for export
xiv. noted the huge potential of the economy in gas and efforts of government at enhancing capacity for exploitation to promote industrialization; Council however urged government to review gas pricing to make it globally competitive;
xv. noted the proactive initiative of single window by customs and urged government to ensure that project is national in outlook and incorporates all stakeholders in trade and investment facilitation;
xvi. advised government to deliberately create enabling business climate to support local investors as a means of strategically transforming the industrial sector of the economy. It commended leading domestic entrepreneurs for making bold moves to contribute substantially to the manufacturing sector of the economy;
xvii. urged government to sustain its investment in building the physical infrastructure of the economy such as power generation & transmission, roads and rail, and airports in order to enhance the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s business environment;
xviii. resolved to support the Federal government in tackling the challenge of oil theft. The Council further committed to offer help in getting international engagement to stop the crime and attendant environmental degradation;
xix. resolved to further complement government’s efforts in fighting corruption, Council adopted the ‘Clean Business Nigeria Today’ (CBNT) initiative as a means of integrating the private sector into the efforts of government to frontally deal with the issues of corruption. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will serve as the Grand Patron of the initiative.
xx. commended Immigration Service for the introduction of on-line passport processing platform but was advised to improve on the broadband which has make the processing ineffective and cumbersome. The immigration Service was also requested to set up Visa Disaster Recovery Centres (in Lagos and Kano) as backup in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
xxi. requested Immigration Service to discontinue the issuance of transit visa in order to align with, and facilitate the process of making Nigeria Regional Commercial Hub. The Service was also advised to reduce the number of officials attending to passengers at the airports to ease flow of people in and out of the country
xxii. observed the need for upgrading of the After Care Committee established to address investor needs in order to enhance service delivery to investors within and outside the country
xxiii. observed that the 4% stamp duty by the Internal Revenue Service on business registration is disincentive to investment and should be proactively addressed for the purpose of reducing cost of doing business in Nigeria