Fix Bureaucracy to Attract More Investors—Elumelu Tasks FG

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**Proposes ‘shared purpose’ to create economic, social wealth for citizens

By Dipo Olowookere

Federal Government has been charged to, as a matter of urgency, fix the bureaucracy in its parastatals, which frustrates the ease of doing business in Nigeria, so as to promote, attract and retain investors willing to do genuine business in the country.

This charge was made by Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu, during an event held in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Elumelu, who delivered a speech on ‘Nigeria Open for Business’ at the 2017 National Insurance Conference organised by the Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC), pointed out that bureaucracy was a major challenge that needed to be tackled with a sense of urgency to curb excessive losses.

At the forum which took place at the Transcorp Hilton, the former banker cited a personal example, when the delays in the public sector led to a negative return on investment that forced his proprietary investment company, Heirs Holdings, to suspend the pursuit of its insurance license despite meeting the eligibility requirement and capitalisation benchmark.

“This bureaucracy is a cause for concern and if not tackled, will discourage otherwise willing investors from within and outside the country,” he said.

“Heirs Insurance Limited is an example where despite focused attempts to finalise a licence, the delay in processing has cost our company significantly in terms of resources and return on investment,” he added.

Though the business mogul applauded the present administration for its efforts so far in stabilising the Nigerian economy, he said much more still needed to be done to transform Nigeria into a country capable of attracting the right investments.

Mr Elumelu proposed that Nigeria’s transformation can only be achieved when the government and private sector work together in “shared purpose,” to create the economic and social wealth for the people.

He defined shared purpose as an alignment and commitment to 3Es – employment, empowerment and economic opportunity, where the government partners with the private sector to, not only design a business climate that creates job opportunities for the youths as in the case of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, but prioritises small and medium businesses.

Mr Elumelu ended his speech by calling on the government to define policies that ease the process of doing business in Nigeria.

“Predictability and consistency of policies must be embraced by our policy makers. We need the public sector to be willing partners in establishing the right, investment-worthy business environment we need in Nigeria. This is the only way Nigeria can be truly open for business,” he concluded.

In response to the speech, representative of the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Joseph Nnanna, commended Mr Elumelu on the points raised, stating that the sector would proactively address the issues raised.

Other guests present at the event included the Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr Mohammed Kari, and Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI).

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