The five-year tenure of Ms Yewande Sadiku as executive secretary and chief executive officer of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has ended and she has bowed out, leaving behind a legacy of transparency, profitability and good corporate governance at the commission.
Ms Sadiku completed her five-year tenure on Friday September 24, 2021, being the last working day before September 26, making her the second executive secretary to complete a tenure in NIPC’s 24-year history. She was appointed to the position on September 26, 2016.
Rendering an account of her stewardship at the end of her tenure, Sadiku, in a report entitled ‘What I Met At NIPC’, said before her appointment, only one executive secretary had spent over three years in office or completed a five-year tenure.
Over the last five years, Sadiku said she has worked assiduously with the staff of the commission to move the agency from a largely reactive style of investment promotion to a more proactive delivery of its mandate, in addition to improving the capacity of staff for greater efficiency.
She noted that work is also ongoing at strengthening NIPC’s zonal presence to provide better support to states since most of the investments that come into Nigeria will sit in the states.
In terms of financials, though the NIPC is not a revenue generating agency, the report indicated that the internally generated revenue of the NIPC increased from N296 million in 2016 to N3.06 billion in 2020, and from January to August 31 2021, NIPC has generated IGR of N1.5 billion, 13.8 per cent more than the original budgeted IGR of N1.32 billion for the entire year.
NIPC’s 2020 IGR of N3.06 billion was 108 per cent higher than that year’s budget of N1.47 billion and 92 per cent higher than the 2019 IGR of N1.59 billion.
In 2018, the NIPC generated IGR of N5.59 billion following the lifting, in August 2017, of the two-year suspension on the administration of Pioneer Status Incentive (PSI), thus exceeding its budget for the year by 452 per cent.
The PSI is a three-to-five year company income tax holiday administered by NIPC which accounts for the bulk of NIPC’s IGR. It had been on an administrative suspension since 2015 on account of perceived abuses, lack of transparency in its administration and concerns about discretionary approvals inconsistent with the provisions of the enabling law. No reports had been proactively published about the administration of the incentive.
Sadiku, however, got the suspension lifted and went on to operate the scheme transparently, generating significant revenues in the process.
When she came on board in 2016, the agency’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014, had not been prepared, the 2016 IGR budget had been approved and the 2017 IGR budget had not been prepared. “The only financial record in the handover notes that I received was a confirmation of the balance in NIPC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) account that read: The Commission’s balance in the Treasury Single Account as of Friday, October 7, 2016 stands at N1,054,327,447.83,” she noted.
However, on her watch, NIPC’s audited accounts for each of the years ended December 31, 2014 to 2020 were prepared and published, with copies sent to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF), Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI)
In terms of reforms, she said the NIPC had reviewed the country’s bilateral investment treaties to focus on responsible, inclusive, balanced and sustainable investments, adding that the NIPC encouraged proactive subnational investment promotion across the 36 states of the federation.
She observed that there were significant improvements at the NIPC in the following areas: capacity building for NIPC staff which improved significantly; leveraging technology to improve the accessibility to NIPC and its activities, and engaging quality experts as consultants in achieving key investment deals.
Highlighting what she met on ground at the NIPC, Ms Sadiku said, “In the three years before I assumed office, NIPC had a relatively high turnover in leadership, with five executive secretaries in that period: three substantive executive secretaries appointed by Mr President and two acting executive secretaries who were the most senior directors at the time.
“There was a general assumption that as NIPC was established by an Act, it was independent and was not subject to many public sector policies. As such, knowledge of the Public Sector Rules was weak and several foundational establishment approvals (organisational structure, schemes of service, staffing levels, allowances, conditions of service, etc) had not been sought from the relevant government agencies.
“NIPC’s style of investment promotion was largely reactive, honouring invitations for speaking engagements at regional and international investor events and organising business and investment forums that were standalone, or at the margins of regional and international investment-related events, or presidential visits. There were no regular proactive reports published of NIPC’s work.”
She also explained that NIPC had a history of volatile industrial relations, with the supervising ministry, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Presidency getting involved in resolving industrial disputes from 2014. The disputes were results of lingering issues, namely inadequate budgetary provision for training, lack of promotion and poor welfare for staff of the commission.
“With a staff strength of 237, NIPC had a budgetary provision of N13.6 million for training and related travel, and the highlight of staff welfare was a May 2005 approval from the Governing Council for an unfunded N200 million staff housing scheme.”
According to her, she also met stagnated staff, some of whom were employed in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but had not sat for any promotion examinations. Besides this, the promotion examination conducted in 2013 had not been completed and no promotion examinations were held in 2014, 2015 and 2016 on account of the ensuing controversy following allegations of malpractice and compromise.
However, during her five-year tenure, Sadiku said she was able to resolve the controversy around the 2013 promotion examination in June 2017, and as approved by FMITI in October 2017, 33 staff members were promoted, including 11 in the directorate cadre, with the guidance of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).
“The stagnation of staff employed in 2009, 2010 and 2011, who had never sat for any promotion exam, was resolved with the guidance of FMITI in December 2017. They were allowed, with FMITI’s approval, to sit for promotion exams every year to recover the lost years.
“Promotion exams were successfully conducted in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020. No promotion exam was held in 2019 on account of a demand from the staff union and a letter from the chairman of the Governing Council. During my tenure, there were 291 staff promotions in the non-directorate cadre, and 74 in the directorate cadre,” she said.
During Sadiku’s tenure, it was learnt, several staff members of the NIPC acquired the capacity to keep proper records, summarise concepts and graphically present information to aid dissemination.
“I am particularly proud that all the work that is represented in this document and in the appendices was done with the staff of NIPC that I met on assumption of office, since no new staff was employed during my tenure and I did not appoint any external special assistants. This is one of my proudest achievements,” she said.