By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, approved a new policy that bars foreign professionals from practising in Nigeria unless they were registered and certified by all the necessary regulatory bodies.
This is even as the Federal Government has declared a state of emergency on science and technology to boost technological acquisition for the industrial growth of the country.
FEC also approved tax rebate to attract foreign industries that should serve as an incentive for pioneer industries operating in Nigeria.
Briefing State House correspondents after weekly FEC meeting at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said: “We agreed that from now on, any person who wants to practice any profession that has anything to do with science, engineering and technology, medical doctors, accountants, quantity surveyors just to mention but a few, must be certified by appropriate regulatory bodies in Nigeria.”
He said FEC approved policy that will help to change the direction of the country, with a view to looking inward to produce the things the country needs, instead of relying on imports.
He said: “Some of the highlights will involve where we have bulk purchases. Those who normally would have supplied from outside the country will now come to Nigeria and establish their factories to produce in Nigeria.
“By doing so, they will offer job opportunities to our people, tax will be paid to government, wealth will be created and most importantly, Nigeria will now acquire the necessary technology that will help us build capacity.”
Tax rebate for pioneer industries
Also briefing journalists, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelama, said government had approved tax rebate for pioneer industries to establish in the country, noting that the policy was to serve as an incentive to attract new investors.
He said: “FEC approved a memorandum that was presented to amend the list of pioneer industries and products that will enjoy pioneer status going forward.
“As many of you know the pioneer incentive scheme is governed by the Industrial Development Income Tax Relief Act and the whole purpose is to give tax holidays to industries we consider pioneer.
“Pioneer doesn’t mean that they are new, it only means that they are not yet mature. We want those industries to grow. We want to attract investment in them and you will find that this covers a wide range of industries and those tax holidays range from three to five years.
“The pioneer list was last reviewed by the Federal Executive Council in 2006, so you can see that this was long overdue.”
“On doing the review, special attention was paid to the ERGP to capture the current realities that will help to implement the plan to make sure we attract the kind of investment, industries and players that will help to implement and realize our objectives in the ERGP.
“I should also point out that there was multi stakeholder engagement, private and public sector in arriving at the industries that will be included in the pioneer incentive scheme.
“In terms of the recommendations approved by FEC today: we have tried to remove all ambiguities in the definition of industries by reclassifying them according to the international standard in
industrial classification, which is the global standard.
“The other thing we also did is to agree that the pioneer list will be reviewed regularly every two years, biannually so that just that if things come up, we live in a fast changing world and we are being
responsive to our world. In the case of additions to the list they will be effected immediately, for deletion of industries that we consider mature there will be a three year window that will be allowed
for those that are already investing in that industry that were enjoying pioneer status to carry on till the end of that three year period.
“Against this backdrop, we then approved 27 industries that were recommended for addition to the pioneer list today.
“We also recommended and it was accepted by the Council that mineral oil prospecting which is governed by the Petroleum Profit Tax should not be part of the pioneer industries list which is really industries governed by the Companies Income Tax Act.’’