… As NBA, SEC collaborate to strengthen capital market***
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah indicated Tuesday, that Nigeria recorded a total investment commitment of $83 billion between January 2017 and March.
Enelamah gave the indication in Abuja at the opening session of the Direct Investors Summit Nigeria, organized by Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to attract over 190 investors from 40 countries in key sectors of the economy.
“The country secured a total investment of $66 billion in 2017 while the balance of $17 billion investment was secured in the first quarter of this year.
“The investment commitments of 83 billion dollars were secured in three key sectors of the economy, namely oil and gas, manufacturing and real estate,’’ he said, adding that the summit was appropriate as it would help to translate the 83 billion dollars investment commitment into actual investments.
He said that the present administration had taken a number of steps to genuinely engage stakeholders in order to unlock investment opportunities in the country.
“The country has had a fair share of adversity in the past but this government has identified the challenges and solving them through partnerships.”
On the African Continental Free Trade Zone, the minister said the government had yet to assent to the agreement as consultations were still on-going.
Enelamah said the consultations were being done to ensure that the government signed a pact that would be beneficial to the general interest of the Nigerian economy.
In her speech, the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Ms Yewande Sadiku said the government was committed to attracting investments.
“The government is committed to attracting fresh investments in key sectors of the economy, the aims of the summit is to bring together investors both local and foreign to unlock potential investments,’’ she said.
Sadiku said the commission was working with state governments to improve national competitiveness as there was a need for the states to be receptive to attract investors.
“The states must be receptive to attract investors because investors go to where they can get attention and a friendly environment,’’ Sadiku said.
She said the commission was working with key stakeholders to see more Nigerians invest in the country.
During a panel discussion titled “Doing Business in States: Opportunities and Incentives’’, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El Rufai, called on the Federal Government to assist the state address insecurity.
El-Rufai said his administration had put in place a lot of measures, such as tax holidays, establishment of one- stop investment shop, among others to attract investors to the state.
“We have about 500 million dollars domestic and foreign investments in my state,” he added
Other members of the panel were Osun Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; Anambra Governor, Willy Obiano, represented by his Deputy, Nkem Okeke, and Ogun Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, also represented his Deputy, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga. Also in attendance were the Ministers of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, the Minister of Works Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; and the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika among others.
The consensus was that the economic diversification agenda may not be adequately fruitful, except there is a strong commitment on the part of the Federal government to assist in tackling the problems of insecurity, power and poor infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) says it will collaborate with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a bid to strengthen the capital market in the country.
Mrs Efe Ebelo, the Acting Head, Corporate Communications of SEC said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ebelo said the Chairman, NBA Section on Business Law (SBL), Mr Olumide Akpata, made the call when members of the NBA-SBL visited SEC office in Abuja.
Akpata said the NBA members would work with SEC to ensure that the capital market was free, fair and transparent for all to operate.
“The NBA-SBL has embarked on a number of initiatives like its annual conference and the setting up of various committees to build capacity in business law.
“We are building capacity among our members to assist in capital market operations and we hope to partner with SEC to deepen this understanding.
“We also go to the Nigeria Law School to mentor the students on the operations of capital market and we are working with the Nigeria Stock Exchange to get a proper framework.
“We are also contemplating collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) to commence a diploma in advanced commercial law.
“This will enable our people to better understand the workings of the capital market.’’
He commended SEC management on their efforts in ensuring that lawyers were carried along on issues relating to rules and regulations in the capital market.
The statement also said that the Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, appealed to the lawyers to support SEC in its regulatory roles, support the market and also be more involved in activities in the capital market.
Uduk noted that in other jurisdictions, lawyers were at the forefront of capital market transactions, and Nigeria’s case should not be different.
“Lawyers are key players in the transactional processes which permeate the world of capital markets.
“They advise debt and equity issuers and the investment banks which structure and sell the financial instruments,” Uduk said.
She, therefore, solicited support of the lawyers and encouraged them to impart the knowledge gained from conferences abroad for easy operations of the market.
She further said the SEC was ready to support actions that would help deepen and grow the Nigerian capital market.