September 18 2006
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission was set up by the government primarily to promote and monitor foreign investments in Nigeria. The commission coordinates the establishment and operation of foreign enterprises in Nigeria and assists foreigners in running their businesses. Foreigners must register with the commission before commencing business operations in Nigeria and must also obtain certain permits and licences.
The commission's one-stop shop was introduced as a strategy to facilitate the grant of the permits, licences and approvals that foreigners must obtain to conduct business in Nigeria. Among other things, foreign enterprises must:
The one-stop shop is an investment centre which currently houses 13 government agencies that provide business approvals, authorizations and permits to foreign investors in Nigeria. The aim is to streamline and coordinate the provision of prompt and efficient services by the following government agencies:
The operation of the centre is in its first phase and involves the above-listed government agencies. Eventually, the commission intends to cover all sectors of the economy and achieve a 24-hour approval time for business entry to Nigeria. The establishment of the one-stop shop aims to remove the administrative bottlenecks formerly encountered in obtaining permits and authorizations to do business in Nigeria and reduce significantly the cost of doing business in the country. A single payment management system will be used to facilitate the payment of statutory fees. Services in the one-stop shop will be available to businesses, both old and new, local and foreign.
In view of the multiple registrations that foreign investors must obtain to conduct business in Nigeria, the commission's one-stop shop should go a long way towards simplifying the processes for the issuance of the required government permits and approvals. It should guarantee that foreign investors have a close working relationship with the relevant government agencies.
An attendant effect of the establishment of the one-stop shop is the reform of the public sector (as far as the participating government agencies are concerned). It is hoped that the provision of transparent and efficient services by these government agencies within the one-stop shop will ultimately lead to a more structured and attractive investment environment.
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