Investors lament security challenges, police harassment

Posted by Ndubuisi Francis | 25 November 2019 | 471 times

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Public and private sector players on Monday lamented the enormous negative impact of insecurity on businesses, ease of doing operations and business growth in the country, calling for urgent and effective measures to stem the tide.

They also decried the penchant by government to heavily tax operators in some sectors of the economy, sometimes under the erroneous impression that they are making it big, due to faulty ratings.

Some of the private sector operators, who spoke in Abuja at a workshop themed: ‘Crystalising Private Investments in the States’, organised by the World Bank Group and co-hosted by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, included the Chief Executive Officer of Jumia, Juliet Anammah; Kola Aina of Ventures Platform; the Chief Executive Officer of Outsource Global, Amal Hassan; and Iyinoluwa Aboteji, Co-founder of Andela and Flutrerwace, among others.

In a panel discussion, “From the horses’ mouths: Private sector perspectives on the importance of the enabling environment for investment,” each of the panelists lamented the various challenges facing investors, particularly insecurity, over taxation and police harassment of operators in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) carrying laptops under the guise of ‘chasing’ ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ boys (the euphemism for internet fraudsters).

Insecurity, police harassment and other harsh operating environment, they lamented, are costing the country so much in terms of brain drain with many highly skilled professionals and businesses moving to other climes.

Earlier in another panel discussion on the ‘Role of the government in creating an enabling environment for investment,” the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, urged private investors to help Nigerian universities design suitable curricula for their job requirements in order to create employment.

The role of the private sector in job creation, she said, was critical, hence the need for private investors to collaborate with universities to assist in designing programmes and projects that they would need as well as the larger society.

She said if this was done, it would help the students to have the right training.

“One of the best ways to handle this problem of unemployment is for our private investors to go and collaborate with universities to train the students to have the right skills while in their in schools.

“We need to also focus on quality education, starting from basic level and apart from this, there is need to expose these school children to skills at an early stage,” she said.

Katagum decried the absence of blueprint or strategic plan for industrialisation which had hindered investments in states.

She called for the establishment of project delivery units in ministries to help monitor and evaluate progress made in any project being executed.

She underscored the need for state governments to work with private sector players to achieve their initiatives and programmes.

Prof. Ode Ojowu, a member of Economic Advisory Council, also a panelist, canvassed for what he termed as policy custodian units in ministries at the federal and state levels.

Ojowu said such units would help track or coordinate any policy within the ministry, adding that the policy custodians would coordinate the funding as well as the level of progress of any project the ministry embarks on.

In a keynote address, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said his government was working closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to revive textile industries in the state.

El-Rufai said his state that used to be a hub for textile industries had lost that value, adding that the industry which created 35,000 jobs in the past could only create about 1,500 jobs currently. (THISDAY)

Source: News Express

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