INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN NIGERIA
- With a population of 120 million (as at 1991 census), Nigeria is obviously the largest market in Africa with skilled and potential manpower for the efficient and effective management of investment projects within the country. Nigeria is strategically located along the West Africa sea routes. It is well connected by a wide network of motorable all season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation
- The potential, however, is far greater. Nigeria, together with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) nations have a total population of over 200 million out of which 120 million are Nigerians and so always having the interest of the region and continent at heart. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the richest nations as it is endowed with oil and gas, solid minerals, precious stones, gold, iron ore, abundant agricultural potentials.
- The Nigerian economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all comers, individuals, corporate organisations and government agencies, to invest in almost all ranges of economic activities. Since 1999, the Government has introduced some bold measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy by halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; they have reduced the debt burden, stabilised the exchange rate of the naira and corrected the balance of payment disequilibrium.
- The Federal Republic of Nigeria consists of thirty six states, and the administrative headquarters and capital city is Abuja, located in the Federal Capital Territory, which is geographically the centre of the country.
- Effective participation in governance by all adults is assured through the sharing of powers, revenue and responsibilities between the three tiers of government, i.e. The Federal Government, the State Governments and the various Local/Municipal Council of the federation.
- The economic agenda of government emphasises policy restructuring to create an enabling environment for private sector initiative and leadership. This is aimed at creating an economy that is market-oriented, private sector-led, highly competitive, technology-driven, broad-based, humane and open.
Investment opportunities in Nigeria
- Although there are over 2000 industrial establishments in Nigeria, including the giant oil industries, iron and steel complexes, steel rolling mills, pharmaceutical industries, food processing, car assembling and Export Processing Zone, Government economic policy favours and places priority on greater investment in agricultural production and agro- processing industries, construction, tourism, manufacturing and export.
- Nigeria, in addition to its huge population is endowed with significant agricultural and forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface water and underground water resources and moderate climatic extremes, allow for production of diverse food and crops. Over 60 % of the population is involved in the production of the food crops.
- The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm and rubber. Extractions from these for export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fibre and yarn. The rain forest has being exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and popular species.
- Nevertheless the agricultural potentials of Nigeria are barely being tapped and this explains the inability of the country to meet the ever increasing demand for agricultural produce. Although the sector remains the dominant employer of labour, more investment is needed across the board to enhance production and increase the contribution of the sector to GDP.
- The Government has set priority areas of investment, which includes crop production, food processing and preservation, livestock and fisheries, agricultural inputs supplies and machinery, commodity trading and transportation, development and fabrication, and exploitation of timber and wood processing.
- In order to facilitate marketing, ensure price stability and improve quality of agricultural produce, three multi commodity development and marketing companies have been established by the Federal Government. These are Arable Crops, Tree Crops and Livestock Development and Marketing Development each with a share capital of N500 million (approx US $5 million) were floated on behalf of the Nigerian farmers and the private sector generally. These entrepreneurs will initially take 60% of the share capital while the Federal Government will hold the remaining 40% in trust to be down-loaded to the private sector within three to five years.
- The Federal Government has through its agro-industrial policy designed a regime of fiscal incentives and tariffs to improve and expand the domestic production capacities of the various agro-allied industries and increase the flow of foreign investments into agro-businesses in Nigeria as well as to shield existing domestic investment from unfair competition.
- These policy strategies which explain the procedure for establishing agro-businesses in Nigeria are designed mainly for foreign investors who are interested in establishing agricultural ventures in Nigeria solely or in cooperation with the local entrepreneurs. It will also attract foreign investment into Nigeria.
- The strategy for production and general handling of commodities must now be export oriented and commercially attractive to attract investment thereby creating employment opportunities and reducing the level of poverty among Nigerians. The Government has already put in place a National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).
- With the formation of these companies, opportunities for the marketing of farm produce will be greatly enhanced not only within the country but will also facilitate export, more so, with some recent development in the global market.
- Nigeria is endowed with numerous mineral resources and tremendous opportunities exist in this sector where government has invested heavily in the generation of vital information. Among these minerals are talc, iron ore, coal, gold, bitumen, rocksalt, gypsum, lead/zinc, bentonite and baryte, gemstones, kaolin and tantalite. The Nigerian Steel Industry is the main industry in this sector that has had some sustainable growth.
- The planning started around 1958 with the commissioning of international organisations and consulting firms at various times to study the feasibility if steel plants under the aegis of the Federal Ministry of Industry. Parallel efforts were also made to identify and analyse the principal raw materials needed for the steel industry.
- The starting point was the search for appropriate local input, the characteristics of which determined the particular technologies that would be adopted. Iron ore was therefore located at Agbaja, Itakpe and Udi; suitable limestone at Jakura, Mfamosin and other parts of the country. Coal deposits were always there at Enugu while potential coke-able coal was struck at Lafia.
- The discovery of the Itakpe iron deposit in 1972 by the Soviet aero-magnetic survey team catalyzed the formal signing of a global contract in 1975 with a Soviet State-owned firm (Tiajpromexport) for an integrated steel plant of 1.3 million tones of long products to be immediately expanded to 2.6 million tones on flat products while the third phase will raise the annual production to 5.2 million tones. The plant was based on the traditional blast Furnace/Basic Oxygen Furnace Technology of Steel Production.
- Between 1961 and 1965 various proposals for the construction of an integrated Steel Plant in the country were being considered but not until 1975 when a Germen-Austrian Consortium was contracted for a DR plant to be located in Aladja and Warri. In April 1971, a Military Decree was established known as the Nigerian Steel Development Authority (NSDA) charged with the supervision of the Steel Programme but was dissolved in 1979. This metamorphosed into several steel producing organisations:
- Ajaokuta Steel Project, Ajaokuta
- The Delta Steel Company, Ovwian Aladja
- Jos Steel Rolling Company, Jos
- Katisna Steel Rolling Company, Katina
- Oshogbo Steel Rolling Company, Oshogbo
- National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe.
- All six enterprises have been slated for privatization by the Nigerian Government. Nigeria is endowed with mineral resources but most of which are not full exploited and the need for foreign investments in this sector.
- Nigeria has being a member of the World Tourism Organisation since the 70’s and is at the moment a member of the Executive Council. Tourism in Nigeria was not a key issue in the past but the last 15 years have seen a change. Nigeria is now determined to develop and promote tourism into an economically viable industry, thereby evolving a tourism policy in 1991. The main thrust of the government’s policy on tourism is to generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism-based rural enterprises, generate employment and accelerate rural-urban integration and cultural exchange. It also aims at encouraging active private sector participation in tourism development.
- There are various strategies in place to ensure that the sector grows. The Government would ensure that the basic infrastructures are in place in order to accelerate its development. States government will provide land without hindrance for tourism development at concessional rates and conditions favourable to investment and the realisation of investment thereon. There are laws enacted to govern the activitities of the categories of people involved in the industry, like hoteliers, travel agents, tour-operators, car hire services.
- The Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism has assumed full responsibility for policy initiation and monitoring, and maintains direct links with State Governments on all tourism matters. However, the tourism industry is still fully dominated by States and Local governments where tourist attractions are situated.
- The State Ministries implement policies and directives from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, initiate projects and control land allocation and development of tourism in their respective areas. The States also regulate the operations of hotels and catering institutions in line with federal government policy.
Investment opportunities exist within the following sub-sectors of the tourism industry:
- Beach and Coastal Resort development as Nigeria has over 800 km of unpolluted sandy beaches;
- Conservation and Protection of eight national parks and over ten game reserves;
- Development of hotels and standard restaurants;
- Transportation, water recreation, packaged tour services air and rail services;
- Development of caves, tunnels, waterfalls and spring water;
- Youth hostels, camping and centres Lake and River sport fishing;
- Scenic and Mountain Holiday resorts;
- Theme/Amusement parks;
- Conference/Congress services;
- Conservation and protection of endangered wildlife;
- Cultural heritage and archaeological sites.
- The performance of this sector, which is under purview of the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel, has been below expectation for reason ranging form obsolete equipment to lack of funds. However it holds great prospects for investors.
- Government is deregulating the power sector by allowing full private sector participation in power generation, transmission and distribution so as to make for the shortfall in supply. All laws that inhibit the private sector participation are being reviewed with a view to encouraging investment. Also guidelines and framework for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have been put together for interested investors.
- Investment opportunities exist in all aspects of power generation, transmission and distribution and the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) has started negotiating MoU with energy companies in the following areas:
- Development of energy infrastructures;
- Management of energy infrastructures;
- Commercialiasation of energy;
- Training and exchange of information and experience;
- Construction and management of power stations by private companies;
- Production of stream and gas turbine spare parts;
- Repair and testing of power transformers;
- Development of wind turbines for generation of electricity;
- Manufacture of distribution transformers and line hardware;
- Technology transfer through joint erection of new power plants.
- Nigeria’s economic infrastructure even though relatively more developed than what is available in most other African countries, it still remains inadequate for her economic aspiration. There would be need for expand roads and railways, build more hospitals, schools and low cost housing. Beyond expanding of infrastructures, there is also the need to rehabilited and maintenance of already existing facilities.
- There is no denying that the opportunities here are enormous. With the resources constraint facing every economy, the private sector is the obvious choice in the development of infrastructures. There are about 1000 roads that government have marked for rehabilitation in Nigeria and new ones to be built.
- The deregulation of the telecommunications sector in 1992 paved the way for private participation in the sector and the expansion of the nation’s communication facilities. Yet, the industry is far from been developed. There is dear need of infrastructural facilities and this has placed constraint on the provision of services to existing potential customers. There is therefore an urgent need to expand the infrastructures in this sector, main through local manufacture of equipments and spares, such as, switch and transmission equipment, fibre optic cables, high pair capacity cables.
- Teledensity in Nigeria is very low despite the introduction of competition and licensing of Private Telecommunications Operators and the GSM. The sector is still very viable for investors who wish to provide and operate private network links employing cable, radio communications, data services, Internet Business and Satellite communication, Payphone and Cellular radio phone services.
- This is another area where numerous investment opportunities abound, especially in the marine and railway sub-sectors. For instance, in the marine sub-sector there exist investment opportunities in Liner Services, Cabotage, Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund, Lifting of Crude Oil and Gas, Pollution Control in the Oil Producing Coastal Regions, Search and Rescue as well as Training/Technical Assistance.
- The Railway sub sector, which is control by the Nigerian Railway Corporation, has investment opportunities in the following areas:
- Conversion of Wagons’ bearings from plain bearings to Roller bearings to eliminate frequent incidences of hot axle;
- Conversion of train braking system from vacuum to air system for better efficiency;
- Conversion of AB Coupler to more effective system so as not to limit the length of loading trains;
- Modernización of track maintenance;
- Improved ticketing system; and
- Manpower development and training.
OIL AND GAS:
- In the oil and gas sector, investment opportunities exist in the upstream and downstream sub sectors and these are encouraged through improved fiscal incentives.
Upstream sub sector: Investment opportunities include,
- Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation;
- Search for development of local substitute for such items as Medium pressure valve, pumps, shallow drilling equipment, drilling mud, bits fittings drilling cements etc.;
- Manufacturing of consumable materials in exploration such as explosive, detonators, steel castings, magnetic tapes etc.;
- Services such as Construction and Installation, Maintenance, Pipelining, Well Services and Transportation Support Services.
Downstream sub-sector: Opportunities here include:
- Domestic production and marking of LPG;
- Manufacturing of LPG cylinders, valves and regulators, installation of filing plants, retail distribution and development of simple flexible and less expensive gas burners to encourage domestic use of gas;
- Establishment of processing plants and industries for:
- Production of refined mineral oil, petroleum jelly and grease,
- Manufacture of bituminous-based water/damp-proof building materials e.g. roofing sheets, floor tiles, rubber products and tarpaulin,
- Building of asphalt storage, packaging and blending plants to handle the production for export
- Establishment of chemical industries such as distillation units for the production of naphtha and other special boiling point solvents used in plant and food processing industries;
- Establishment of industries for processing Linear Alkyl Benzene, Carbon Black and Polypropylene;
- Participation in all phases of the Nigerian Gas Industry development programme;
- Establishment of small scale industries to produce chemicals and solvents such as Chlorinated methane, Formaldehyde, Acetylene, etc. from natural gas; and
- Development of the Petrochemical Programme.
Refining sub-sector: Investment opportunities abound in this sub-sector, especially with the liberalisation of the petroleum sector and planned privatisation of the nation’s refineries. These include the construction of refineries for local consumption and export as well as services to refineries including maintenance and supply of spates.
- Other investment opportunities contingent upon refining and ancillary activities are the manufacture of special products such as industrial and food grade solvents, insecticides, cosmetics mineral oil, petroleum jelly grease, packaging and blending plants. Furthermore, there are those associated with products distribution and marketing, lubricating oil reprocessing, manufacturing of LPG bottles and accessories, oil can reconditioning and pipeline maintenance.
- The programme of privatisation and commercialisation of state owned enterprises since the current democratic government carne to office in 1999 is part of economic deregulation policies aimed at putting the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth and development. The enterprises to be privatised suffered fundamental problems such as defective capital structure, excessive bureaucratic control and intervention, inappropriate technology, gross incompetence and mismanagement, blatant corruption and crippling complacency engendered by monopoly.
- A three‑phase privatisation implementation process was evolved. Phase one, including Commercial and Merchant Banks and Cement Plants already quoted on the Stock Exchange has already been executed. Phase two, involving the privatisation of hotels and motor and vehicle assembly Plants is almost concluded. Phase three, covering the privatisation of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL), National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON), Nigeria Airways, Ports and Petroleum Refineries etc is underway.
- The programme provides for Core Group Investors with the capabilities for adding value to an enterprise and making it operate efficiently in the face of international competition. Requirements for this include possession of technical and managerial know‑how and financial¡ capacity to pay competitive price for the enterprise and increase the capital base. The Programme is handled by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES
- Export Processing Zones (EPZ) are being established in Nigeria to encourage investors to establish industries in those locations at very competitive costs for export. The first of these is the Calabar EPZ, which is serviced by modern well equipped seaport and international airport as well as a good network of roads linking it to other parts of the country. Facilities in the EPZ include serviced plots of land, uninterrupted power supply, modern and efficient telecommunication system, and excellent road. Others include standard pre‑built factories, modern catering and recreational facilities, banking services customs services and warehouses.
Incentives in the zone include:
- Legislative provision pertaining to taxes, levies, duties and
foreign exchange do not apply within the zone
- Tax holiday
- Repatriation of foreign capital investment in the EPZ at any time
with Capital appreciation on the investment;
- Unrestricted remittance of profits and dividends earned by
investors in the zone;
- Non‑requirement of import or export licences;
- Rent‑free land during construction of factory space;
- 100% foreign ownership of enterprises allowable;
- “One‑Stop” approvals; and
- Sale of up to 25% of production permitted in the domestic
ONNE OIL AND GAS FREE ZONE
Alongside the EPZ are the Free Trade Zones. The Onne oil and gas free zone is meant to enable Nigeria become a central logistic point for the oil and gas industry in West Africa. The zone takes the advantage of the existing Onne Port Complex, which is patronised by regular Shipping services. It is designed primarily to stimulate import and export oriented activities in the nation’s economy and to attract direct foreign investment.
Incentives available to importers and exporters at the port, which are comparable to the most successful free zones in the world include:
- Free Corporate tax;
- Free import and export duties for goods imported or exported from the Zone;
100% repatriation of capital and profit free from foreign exchange regulation;
100% foreign ownership;
Free pre‑shipment inspection for goods imported into the zone; Free expatriate quota in the heart of a buoyant oil and gas activity;
- First class facilities; and
- An efficient oil services centre.
4. Services available at the Zone include: Transit and Marine shore base services, Shipping and air freight, Clearing and forwarding, and Living Camp. Others include Drilling companies and rig suppliers, Support vessels, barges and tugs, as well as Heavy lift facilities and services and tools.
THE NIGERIAN INVESTMENT CLIMATE
Economic recession has raised the need for Nigeria to re‑order its economic policies and priorities, giving due emphasis to investment in the non‑oil sector particularly agriculture and solid minerals. These policies and priorities are expected to minimize dependence on imports, improve balance of trade and payment control inflation as well as improve the efficiency of both the public and private sectors of the economy.
- These goals are being achieved through reducing total tax burden to a maximum 30 percent of corporate/personal incomes, lowering custom tariffs, ensuring steady and adequate food supply, providing incentives for local and foreign investors, institutional
rationalization, renewed focus on education and human capacity development, etc.
- With a leadership that is committed to institutional change in a multi‑party democratic environment, much has been done to create a conducive investment climate for investors. Among major steps taken are the deregulation and liberalization of the FDI regime in order to encourage competition; Concerted fight against corruption and Economic crimes; Creation of a virile Private Sector; as well as Transparent, simple & stable application of tax laws and administration.
To guide investment in Nigeria, two principal laws have been provided to wit: The Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission Act 16 of 1995 and the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 17 of 1995.
Major features of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act 16 of 1995 include:
- Liberalization of the economy allowing 100% ownership of
invéstment in any sector (except ones listed in the `negative’ list) irrespective of nationality;
- Guarantee against nationalization or expropriation by
government of the federation;
- Guaranteed unconditional transferability/repatriation of funds
through an authorized dealer, in freely convertible currency.
The Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 17 of 1995 provides that:
Foreign currency may be repatriated from Nigeria and shall not be subject to any further approval provided it is done through an authorized dealer;
- Any person may invest in any enterprise or security with foreign currency or capital imported into Nigeria through an authorized dealer;
- Any person may open, maintain and operate a domiciliary account designated in foreign currency with an authorized dealer; and
- A person, whether resident in or outside Nigeria, a citizen of Nigeria or not may deal in, invest in, acquire or dispose of, create or transfer any interest in securities and other money market instruments whether denominated in foreign currency in Nigeria or not.
35D Other major legislations guiding investment in Nigeria include:
- Immigration Act of 1963
- The Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 (as amended)
- The National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion Act of 1979
- The Investment and Security Act of 1999
Procedure for Starting Business
Al¡ business enterprises must register with the Corporate Affairs
Commission and the Tax Authority. Where applicable, operating
license must be obtained. This applies to sectors such as Oil & Gas,
Telecommunications, Financia¡, and Solid minerais. Then an operating premises has to be acquired and the business registered with the NIPC.
Over the years, government has progressively introduced a number of incentives designed to promote investment, employment, product mix and various other aspects of industry. These incentives encompass:
- Fiscal measures on taxation;
- Effective protection of local industries with import tariff;
- Export promotion of Nigerian‑made products; and
- Foreign currency facility for international trade.
- The following generous package of investment incentives is open to enterprises that fulfill the necessary criteria:
100% tax free period for 5 years for pioneer industries that produce products deciared as “pioneer products” under the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act No. 22 of 1971 as amended in 1988, or such other deserving enterprises as may be recommended by the Council of the NIPC.
Local Raw Materials Utilisation
30 % tax concession for five years to industries that attain minimum local raw materials utilisation as follows:
Agriculture 80% Agro‑Allied 70% Engineering 60% Chemical 60% Petro‑Chemical70%
Labour Intensive Mode of Production
15% tax concession for five years. This is graduated such that companies employing more than 1,000 persons will enjoy 15%, those employing 100 persons will enjoy 6% and those employing 200 will enjoy 7% etc.
Local Value Added
10% tax concession for five years applies to engineering industries, where some finished imported products serve as inputs. The concession is aimed at encouraging local fabrication rather than assemblage of CKD parts.
2% tax concession for five years on the cost of facilities provided for training
10% concession for five years for industries that export not less than 60% of their products.
20% of cost of providing basic infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity where they do not exist is tax deductible.
Investment in Economically Disadvantaged Areas
100% tax holiday for 7 years, additional 5% depreciation allowance over and above the initial capital depreciation.
Research and Development (R&D)
120% tax deductible expenses, provided the research and development is carried out in Nigeria;
140% deductible expenses for R&D on local raw material. Excise Double Taxation Agreements
These are being negotiated and concluded with various countries in order to eliminate double taxation on investment income.
This incentive is granted to companies engaged in manufacturing, which incur qualifying capital expenditure for the purpose of approved expansion. It covers expansion of production capacity, modernisation of production facilities, and diversification into related products.
Investment Tax Allowance
Under this scheme, companies would enjoy generous tax allowance in respect of qualifying capital expenditure incurred within 5 years from the date of the approval of the project.
Incentives to Agriculture
Without prejudice to the deregulation of the financia¡ sector, government has enjoined banks to recognise differences in the gestation periods within each category of agricultura¡ projects and observe the grace periods on agricultura¡ loans.
Export Incentives for the Non‑Oil Sector
Determined‑ to enhance the contribution of non‑oil sector to the national economy, government has articulated some incentives aimed at encouraging and assisting exporters to increase and diversify the total value of non‑oil exports from Nigeria. These are in a scheme known as the New Manufacturing in Bond Scheme (NMIBS), promoting the use of Negotiable Duty Credit Certificates as alternative payment of the incentives.
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission is a one‑stop agenc detailed information to investors and assists them to set up in Nigeria. The Commission:
- Facilitates the procurement of al¡ business approvals (Business Registration and Expatriate Quota);
- Facilitates the administration and approval of investment incentives;
- Negotiates specific incentives for the investor, in consultation with appropriate government agencies such as Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Industry;
. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerias diplomatic Missions around the world are agencies for the promotion of Trade and Investment with the international community.
The time at our disposal does not permit us to go beyond this level in speaking about investment opportunities in Nigeria. What we have discussed so far is a very brief summary of what exists on the ground and you are all invited to explore in detail about various areas that might be of interest. Further enquiries can be channeled through the Embassy of Nigeria and I promise that responses would be received within good time. Nigeria offers one of the most rewarding investment destinations in the World and you are invited to be part of history by investing in it.