The Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has lauded the Administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for its commitment to the advancement of the State’s economy.
NIPC also commended the Administration for being resilient and relentless to socioeconomic, business and investment promotion since the inception.
This is even as the government reaffirmed its vision to rescuing and stimulating the economy, and changing the narrative of Osun from a civil service State to an investment, commerce and industry-driven economy.
The head of the NIPC Southwest Zonal Office, Ibadan, Mr. Hassan Lawal, stated these on Wednesday at the Stakeholders’ Forum organised by the Osun Investment Promotion Agency (OSIPA) in collaboration with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) tagged “Year 2021 Investment Recertification Exercise and Stakeholders Engagement Forum”, held at Osun Civil Service Development Centre, Abere, Osogbo.
The Stakeholders’ Forum is aimed at drawing a workable investment roadmap and business strategy to further attract potential investors to invest massively in Osun.
Addressing journalists shortly after the Stakeholders’ Forum, Lawal said Osun government had proved its readiness to turn a new leaf in turning the State to an investment destination.
The NIPC Zonal boss who described the Forum as a necessity to further assess the State’s readiness for business and investment promotion, said the Commission was highly impressed by the level of commitment geared towards sustaining the State’s economy and enhancing its productivity and economic profile.
He lauded the State government for the prompt and timely creation of Osun Investment Promotion Agency (OSIPA), which he said had really helped in boosting the capacity of the State to foster a better investment and business partnership with local and foreign investors.
“What we are doing here today has been done in many of the States of the Federation and our attention is focused on Osun State as part of efforts to take the State out of its seeming ‘Civil Service Status’ and make it a business and investor driven economy, and this is the process to get there.
“We have been here since yesterday and we have been able to commence this project which we call NICPS i.e Nigeria Investment Certification Programme for States that was developed with the help of the World Bank.
“Our target is to make State to better project their opportunities. We have gotten to a stage to profile Osun economy. Osun is very wealthy, Osun is a very rich State as we have many mineral resources, arable land, and her people are very resourceful. Osun has all it takes to be a leading investment State in Nigeria that is why we have commenced the assessment; and our target is to strengthen the capacity of the State in this regard.
“So, what we are here today for, is part of those supports that we give to the States, and it is the turn of Osun. Aside from helping the States to create Investment Promotion Agency, we also assist States with part of those tools in getting a compact understanding of those tools that we use to drive investment and one of those tools is this NICPS.
“I want to thank Governor Oyetola. He has done excellently well, particularly for being the major promoter of the State’s investment and business opportunities. I use this opportunity to appreciate him and for having a formidable team in the Osun Investment Promotion Agency (OSIPA). Osun has done fantastically well.
“Though we are not done yet because after this programme, we still have trainings for the team of OSIPA on how to have the rudiments of investment promotion and how to attract investors. What I presented is part of those tools that we need to drive investment in the State.
“We developed the concept and the purpose is to help States to document, which will lead to better project their opportunities. Don’t forget that Osun has several investment opportunities such as human-capital resources, natural resources and arable lands. So, the purpose of this is to help them to better project these to potential investors.
“It is on record that the last that was done, the state was on 4th star. So, for it to rise, the State must increase on the funding for investment promotion. There is need for the State as well to increase attention and funding, and I must commend the government for what it has done so far,” he added.
Speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Osun Investment Promotion Agency (OSIPA), Mr. Femi Adeniran, said the State was resolute to turn Osun to an investment and business destination.
Adeniran who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of the agency noted that efforts had reached top gear to take the State from its present status of four stars to five stars of the maximum investment rating.
He said the focus of the agency was to strengthen the ‘ease of doing business’ in the State, and pursue vigorously and rigorously things capable of attracting local and foreign investors to invest massively in the State.
Adeniran said: “Basically, there is this process that is called the Investment Certification for States, and this Investment Certification has criteria which Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission will use in assessing our readiness for investment and investors, and they are graded from one star to five stars.
“The last exercise that was conducted was done in 2016 and Osun was rated four stars certification and what that means was that we have not got there. But with what we have put in, we have taken a lesson from the last exercise, we have worked on them, we have developed on them and we have presented them back to NIPC and I am optimistic that we will get maximum point of five stars.
“We have taken the learning from that of the last one and we have jerked up the efforts to show that we are fully ready to work towards the five stars. And once we have the five stars, it is like having an emblem to show to investors that we have been rated by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission.
“The advantage of this is to further show that our State is an investment destination. So, basically, the review of the last rating is what we have done today. That is why we have the zonal team of the NIPC in our State.
“We have done all of the updates, we have done the property standard, marketing standard and information standard. All we need to update, we have updated them. We have already done the Website, and once we finish, we can easily upload whatever we want and the investors can easily access it for whatever partnership, and once they click it, they can easily access anything and see what we are capable of offering them.
“We have met with the NIPC managenent and they have checked our documents and we have equally engaged heads of MDAs, parastatals, critical stakeholders who support investment and business management in the State. We have the federal agencies such as NAFDAC, SMEADAN, etc to drive the State economy.
“After the whole exercise, we would be invited after their thorough assessment on index performance. And from what we have seen and shown to us, we are about 80 to 90 percent there. We are confident that nothing will prevent our five stars.
“After we have attained this feat, we shall be presented to the World Bank that will do the global assessment to further prove our five stars for verification to higher ladder.
“As it is, we have not been impressively ranked the best on the ease of doing business, but our target is to be at the top by the grace of God. Though, so many factors contributed to our low ranking before. One of them was that there was no OSIPA in place, but with our emergence, our target is to rank among the first 10 in Nigeria and one of the steps we have taken is to have our ‘One Stop Shop’.
“We have already constructed that and it is ready for commissioning. This is a place where critical agencies that will manage end-to-end of new business opening. With this in place, one can go from one desk to another and within possible shortest time, one business is opened.
“Our partnership with NIPC so far so good is being seamless. We have a good number of engaging opportunities for meeting and understanding of what actually the requirements for us to stand tall on our own about our responsibilities at State level.
“One of the programmes that we had since August last year when OSIPA was inaugurated is this programme. We have had several meetings and we have a very good relationship with the leadership of the Commission.
“As for us in OSIPA, we are totally focused, totally committed to encouraging investors and also ensuring the growth of businesses in the State.”
The Stakeholders’ Forum has in attendance the Executive Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Adegbite Ademikanra; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investment, Mr. Yinka Omiyale; some of the Heads of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies; Government Parastatals, among other stakeholders.