Engaging investors for a country with high political risk is a herculean task.
Yet, Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is defying the odds through innovations, improved governance, transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s business environment.
Since she was appointed on 25 September 2016, Sadiku has moved the Commission from treating investment promotion as an afterthought to a more deliberate delivery of its mandate through advocacy and engagement that have boosted investors’ perception about Africa’s biggest economy.
Although securing volumes of investment is not among the Commission’s specific mandate, the Commission has created detailed templates concerning fiscal incentives which are instrumental in enhancing Nigeria’s investment climate.
Some initiatives under her leadership have proactively positioned Nigeria as the preferred investment haven; disseminate more information about investment opportunities; increased liaison between investors and government ministries; expose specific projects for interested investors among others.
Reform of the Pioneer Status Incentive (PSI) Scheme
The Pioneer Status Incentives (PSI) is a tax holiday exempting qualified industries from paying Corporate Income Tax for 3 years, renewable for another minimum of two years.
Before the reform in August 2017, companies were granted straight five years of tax exemption, with no public record information or details about applicants and exempted companies.
As a result of Sadiku’s initiatives, 27 modern pioneer industries and pioneer products were included in the Pioneer Industries and Product List, two sectors were effaced due to lack of competitiveness while the new application guideline revised for faster review of applications.
Today, PSIs are processed strictly based on published guidelines, while the Pioneer List approved by the Federal Executive Council is available on both NIPC and Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment websites detailing the total number of companies exempted till date.
Introduction of “Invest in Nigeria” intelligence e-newsletter
The Invest in Nigeria intelligence e-newsletter was developed in October 2016 to track investment-related news about Nigeria, cull local and international news articles disseminated six days a week to its over 10,000 subscribers from across the world.
The newsletter showcases Nigeria as an investment destination, shares NIPC-related information and business reforms that will deepen investor opportunities for the country.
Compendium of Investment Incentives
First published in October 2017, the Investment Incentives Compendium, collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is a 20-page compilation report that details financial incentives, tax regulations, tariff, and sector-specific rewards.
The Compendium aims to provide existing and potential investors with available incentives for doing business in Nigeria.
Published the maiden report of Investment Announcements
The periodic newsletters on investment information were compiled to form the first report on investment announcements in 2018.
The report shows investment announcements; local and foreign direct investments categorised by investor, sector, source and destination of all investment announcements within the period in view.
Career in the private sector
In her investment banking career which spanned almost two decades, Yewande Sadiku handled several major mergers, acquisitions and restructurings in Nigeria business environment.
She also directed billion dollar deals in long-term debt and equity financing, impacting virtually every sector of the Nigerian economy.
For instance, Sadiku was instrumental in several landmark transactions such as the $535million first dual listing of Seplat Energy’s on the London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges in 2014.
She also supervised the $13.5 billion merger of Benue Cement Company with Dangote Cement to create the largest listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as at 2010.
Her other achievements include raising public and private funding for several major companies in Nigeria including Access Bank plc, Dangote Sugar, Flour Mills, MTN, Nigerian Bottling Company, Nigerian Breweries, Zenith Bank among others.
For 12 years she chaired the Rules and Compliance Sub-Committee of SEC’s Capital Markets Committee which advised SEC on the rules that guide the operation of Nigeria’s Investments and Securities Act.
She was also one of the 15 members of the SEC Technical Committee on Capital Market Structures and Processes, which was mandated to make recommendations on the operational efficiency of the Nigerian capital market in 2009, in response to the effect of the global financial crisis.
Sadiku worked at Nigeria International Bank Limited, now Citibank Nigeria from 1992 to 1994, after excelling in their on-campus recruitment at University of Benin.
She joined the prestigious Investment Banking & Trust Company Limited (IBTC) at entry-level in January 1996 and had a 21-year career at the bank through its transition to the Stanbic IBTC Group.
She rose through the ranks to become Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Capital, the Group’s investment banking arm in November 2012.
In 2014, she leveraged her investment banking background, to raise funding for the $8 million film adaption of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
The movie featured on the official selection of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it first premiered.
She was featured in World Business Magazine “35 International Women Under 35” in 2007. She was also awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship for International Leadership in 2010.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) awarded her “Distinguished Friend of the Media” for her role in promoting press freedom and accountability in 2019.