By Emeka Aginam
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment , MITI has partnered with Microsoft, through its Africa Open4Business programme, to digitally transform the delivery of services to the investor community in Nigeria and evolve the regulatory and procedural environment governing business incorporation.
By harnessing advances in cloud technologies, MITI aims to transform the reach and scope of government-to-investor services in the country, creating an agile and investment-friendly environment.
With the new partnership, MITI strongly believes that digital technologies play a pivotal and fundamental role in evaluating and changing the landscape for reforms, with e-reforms becoming the next big thing for Nigeria, for government operations and services, and for the economy at large.
“Our partnership with Microsoft is designed to drive business model innovations, which will transform the delivery of services to current and prospective investors in Nigeria,” Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said, adding that, “The objective is to deliver self-provisioned, expedient and technology-driven services to the highly-valued constituencies of investors that we are mandated and keen to serve”.
According to him, the partnership between MITI and Microsoft is expected to tap into the portfolio of services availed through the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, to jointly drive digital transformation and advance Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Speaking on the support from Microsoft, Hakeen Adeniji-Adele, Public Sector Director at Microsoft Nigeria, says: ““The Africa Open4Business programme helps to tackle one of the main challenges deterring investors: A lack of credible and timely investment-related information. By helping MITI modernise and digitise this information, we will enable MITI to engage with investors on a frequent and timely basis, to increase investment levels and, ultimately, the pace of job creation.”
Also speaking, Azza El Shinnawy, Director of Government Solutions, Microsoft Africa Initiatives, “By integrating cloud technology, we will be able to cut down both the time and costs investors spend to incorporate and maintain their businesses in Nigeria.
Cloud technology will also help MITI proactively communicate opportunities to a global community of investors, expanding investment horizons and showing that Nigeria is indeed open for business.”
Meanwhile, in World Bank’s compilation of Ease of Doing Business ranking annually in partnership governments, Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 190 economies.
Country rankings are highly observed by the global investor community, as they generally reflect not only the conduciveness of the regulatory and procedural environment facing new market entrants, but also how businesses interact with government regulatory agencies throughout their lifecycle.