By Henry Uche
Following the industrial action taken yesterday by the leadership of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) -chapter of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, the management of NIPC said it remains fully committed to dialogue with the Union to resolve their concerns and ensure that staff of the Commission are motivated to achieve the goals and objectives of the Commission’s establishment.
In a statement delivered by the Director, Strategic Communications, Mr Emeka Ofor, NIPC said management noted with great concern, the unexpected industrial action and locking of the access gate of the NIPC’s Head Office Complex in Maitama, Abuja by the leadership of the NIPC Chapter of ASCSN, early on 24 February 2021.
Acccording to the statement, the leadership of the Union claims that the action is supposedly predicated on: Alleged wrongful dismissal of staff; management’s alleged refusal to implement the terms of an Agreement reached with the Union in July 2020; alleged interference and manipulation of staff promotion exercises; NIPC’s supposed inability to achieve results in five (5) years and other unfounded allegations against the person of the Executive Secretary of NIPC.
In response, NIPC said, “For the record, it should be noted that despite the resolution of virtually all the issues and continuous engagement with the Union and other stakeholders, the Union has issued four (4) ultimatums to the management in the past six (6) months, over issues that had either been resolved or had never been brought to Management’s attention.
“Most of the current allegations were also made by the Union when it unexpectedly locked the NIPC gate in July 2020. Following that incident, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment held several meetings with representatives of the NIPC Governing Council, NIPC Management, the Union, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and other stakeholder MDAs resulting in the resolution of the issues, most of which have been implemented, while others are at various stages of implementation,”
The Commission stressed that, in relation to the 2020 promotion exercise, the promotion examination was transparently conducted by the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) with the full participation of relevant MDAs, including the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Federal Civil Service Commission and Federal Character Commission.
It affirmed that the promotion letters for Officers outside the management cadre were released by Management on 23 February 2021, while the promotion of staff in the Management cadre is still awaiting Council approval in line with extant rules.
“NIPC Management has always made staff welfare and development a priority. Major welfare improvements were initiated under the leadership of the current Executive Secretary (Yewande Sadiku) without being prompted, including Staff Housing Loan Scheme, Post Service Benefit Scheme and Peculiar Allowance.
“Management is also aware that several staff of the Commission who are members of the Union, are not in support of the industrial action. No Congress was held to arrive at the decision to lock the gate and no notice of the picketing was ever given to Management.
“Despite the disruption of the Commission’s activities and the activities of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Secretariat, which operates from the NIPC Head Office, NIPC Management remains fully committed to dialogue with the Union to resolve their concerns and ensure that staff of the Commission are motivated to achieve the goals and objectives of the Commission’s establishment,” it assured.
Howbeit, NIPC added that it recorded unprecedented number of achievements under the leadership of the current Executive Secretary, in the last four years which includes: The production of the Book of States to highlight investment prospects and competitive advantages of every State in Nigeria to better showcase subnational investment opportunities; the publication of the Compendium of Investment incentives in Nigeria; Initiation and implementation of the reform of Nigeria’s international investment agreements regime to attract responsible, inclusive, balanced and sustainable investments, which led to the negotiation of the Nigeria- Morocco bilateral investment treaty that was prominently featured by UNCTAD as an exemplary model in the 2017 World Investment Report.
Others include: The successful hosting ofthe Direct Investors’ Summit, Nigeria in 2018, the introduction of the Nigerian Investment Certification Programme for States, to prepare states for investor readiness; Development of a country-specific investment strategyto better target investment promotion; Publication of the report of investment announcements quarterly and annually; production of the iGuide to provide critical investment information; Creation of the OSIC Lab to resolve complaints by investors and promote investment retention; Reforms to the administration of the Pioneer Status Incentive; Proactive publication of the quarterly and annual records of Pioneer
StatusIncentive applications processed.
Also an ongoing development of the Single Window Investors Portal to facilitate online profiling of investment projects, online processing of Pioneer Status applications, online provision of services by OSIC and other investor engagements; Completion of the backlog of outstanding audit of NIPC Financial Statements from 2014 – 2019; Publication of the annual reports of NIPC’s activities from 2016 to 2019; Proactive publication of the mandatory information required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) including financial, procurement, legal and staff records; and Receipt of award for transparency and compliance with a second position ranking at the National FOI Award for 2019 and 2020, up from 90th position in 2016, are some of its milestones so far.