James Emejo in Abuja
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms. Yewande Sadiku has said about $90.9 billion worth of investments were recorded in the country last year.
Speaking during an interaction with Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) in Abuja, she said there were 92 projects covering 23 states and the FCT.
She said 33 per cent of the investments came from Nigerian investors, which according to her was consistent with government’s efforts to get Nigerians to invest in their own county.
Other investment sources according to her included the UAE, France and UK.
The NIPC boss, however, explained that though the announcements were not actual investments, they nevertheless “give us direction and a sense of investor interest in Nigeria”.
She said: “We actually track it so that at the end of the quarter, half year, month or full year, we can say this is the total value of investment announcements that were made. We look at where the investments are supposed to be coming from.
“Remember they are announcements and not investments. The announcements related to mining and quarrying and oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, transportation and storage.”
She also said investor interest in the first quarter of 2019 could to be less than the same period in 2018 because of elections concerns.
Sadiku, also said the agency had statutory powers to register companies in the country, alongside the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
According to her: “There’s a provision in the NIPC Act and it’s always being in the NIPC Act. It says that any enterprise in which foreign participation is allowed, they should register with NIPC before they commence business. Any enterprise in which foreign participation is allowed.
“So I actually find myself that many people are not aware of this requirement even though it has always been in the NIPC Act. The object is that you register with CAC and then we register with NIPC.
“Part of the reforms that we would like to see is that the process of registering with CAC and registering with NIPC and subsequently registering with FIRS for your tax identification number is more seamless than it is currently. But that is still in a work that is in progress but it has always been a requirement of the NIPC Act.”
She also disclosed that following the 2017 review of the Industrial Development Income Tax Relief Act (IDITRA), which is the law that created the pioneer status, 27 new companies had been added to existing list.
The ES also noted that the review further removed two sectors namely cement and mineral oil prospecting from the list of beneficiaries of pioneer status.
She said: “We removed cement from it because based on different reports by the relevant agencies of government, it was deemed that the cement industry was matured enough to no longer require that incentive, not that we don’t want further investments but it is mature enough to no longer require that incentive.
“The work that was done also suggested that we take off mineral oil prospecting and processing because it falls under the petroleum profit tax Act rather than the company income tax Act.”