Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
In order to create a virile atmosphere of private investments across the country, the Nigeria Investments Promotions Commission (NIPC) has initiated a plan to certify all the 36 states of the federation.
The Executive Secretary of NIPC Ms. Yewande Sadiku gave the hint at an interactive forum held with states commissioners of trade and investment , CEOs of Investment Promotions Agencies (IPAs) and chambers of commerce, industry, mines and agriculture in Abuja.
The forum preceded by a meeting with commercial attaches of embassies was in preparation for the Direct Investorsâ€™ Summit (DIS) organised in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) scheduled to take place in October.
Sadiku said the certification exercise by the agency, which projects Nigeria as an attractive investment destination, would allow the states to compete with each other, while NIPC would assist the states in identifying and plugging the areas where there are gaps.
The certification process requires state to submit documentation, while organised visits to the states by foreign investors working closely with the commercial attachÃ©s, would help in identifying the opportunities that will create positive image of the states as investment destinations.
While offering NIPCâ€™s readiness to partner and attract investors to the states, she assured that the exercise would be objective and free of political bias, adding her desire is to see the 36 states compete with each other considering that Nigeria is competing with the rest of the world.
â€œThe ultimate objective is to certify all the states in Nigeria and have an internal guide on the ease of doing business on a state by state basis. We canâ€™t attract investors to Nigeria if the states are not receptive. NIPC will deploy its relationship managers from the five zonal offices in Jos, Kano, Enugu, Ibadan and Maiduguri to assess investments indicators in the states, which we will gladly share with the governors,â€ Sadiku said.
As catalyst for investments, she said the commission is planning to engage the private sector at the end of the month for a scheduled professional advisersâ€™ forum in addition to compiling a list of 100 biggest and most strategically important companies in the country.
The NIPCâ€™s investment was in the light of the research report produced by University of Oxford in collaboration with the UN on the investment outlook and multi-dimensional poverty index in the 36 states and Abuja.
The Oxford report that looked at 10 different indices and ranked the states on that basis put the National Average for Nigeria at 46 per cent. The states denoted in green reflect those with lowest poverty incidents as against the red states reflecting high poverty.
Lagos State is the lowest state on the poverty ranking at 8.5 percent while the highest is Zamfara with 91.9 percent. Other deep red states include Kebbi, Bauchi, Yobe and Jigawa.
Sadiku, who clarified that the data produced by Oxford was analysed for information purpose by NIPC, said support is required for the entire country to transform to deep green through engagement with the private sectors.