May 30, 2024

Kalu seeks legal framework on philanthropy, impact investing to increase capital flows for devt

Benjamin Kalu

Benjamin Kalu

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has advocated for a legislation to back philanthropy and impact investing in Nigeria, saying it will help to increase capital flow for development, create jobs and reduce poverty rate in the country.

Kalu made the submission at the Stakeholders’ lunch on developing legislation on philanthropy and impact investing in Nigeria hosted by Impact Investors Foundation (IIF) in collaboration with the Nigeria Office for Philanthropy and the Office of the Deputy Speaker on Wednesday in Abuja.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu stated that the lunch had in attendance the Chairperson, Nigeria Philanthropy Office, Thelma Olu-solanke; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Impact Investment Foundation, Etemore Glover; Head of Projects, GIZ, Mrs Ana Vinambres, India High Commissioner, Mr. Shri G. Balasubramanian and members of the finance committee of the wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF).

Addressing the delegation, Kalu emphasized that enacting a law will help to mainstream philanthropy and impact investing into the national financial structure of Nigeria and in turn raise the inflows to achieve the desired development aspirations and also improve the living standard of the people.

The Deputy Speaker stated that once achieved, the legal framework will drive inclusive economic growth and unlock the potentials for innovative financing solutions that will promote multi-stakeholders commitment and participation.

He noted that it is the duty of the parliament to observe the existence of gaps in the governance ecosystem and block them through legislative interventions.

Kalu reaffirmed the commitment of the parliament towards national growth and development.

The Deputy Speaker also noted that global philanthropy and impact investing funds are estimated to be trillions of dollars and by creating the right policy environment and frameworks, the nation can attract more funding and drive meaningful change.

Kalu expressed optimism that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will assent to the bill when the time comes, saying he is working hard to create jobs and reduce unemployment rate.

He said: “At the heart of this conversation lies the need to mainstream philanthropy and impact investing into our national financial structure and enact legislation that unlocks increased capital flows to achieve our development aspirations and improve living standards. Philanthropy and impact investing play a vital role in addressing our nation’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, education, innovation, and environmental protection. Your contributions are pivotal in driving positive social and economic outcomes.

“Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Nigerian economy, accounting for nearly 96.7% of businesses, 87.9% of the workforce, and 46.31% of national GDP. However, they face significant financial constraints, inhibiting their contributions to our nation’s progress. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nigeria requires $10 billion in annual funding. Today’s agenda is ambitious and necessary.

“The 10th National Assembly is committed to the well-being of our people, and our engagement on this issue demonstrates our leadership’s unwavering commitment to charting a better course for our nation’s growth and prosperity”.

Speaking earlier, the head of projects, GIZ, Mrs Ana Vinambres, said that the Impact Investors Foundation is a not-for-proft organisation, at the forefront of unlocking private capital for social investments in Nigeria, and eliminating the barriers to impact investing.

She stressed that Nigeria needs a comprehensive national policy framework for philanthropy and impact investing to address systemic issues, hindering sectoral growths and effectiveness.

According to her, IIF and NPO in collaboration with NABH spearheaded a national framework to mainstream philanthropy and Impact investing in Nigeria, to among others promote policies that enable innovative financial vehicles like the NABIH’s $7 billion Wholesale impact investment Fund (WIIF), NPO’s $200 million Job Creation Fund and other financial modelsmodels such as gender lens investing and outcome-based contracts.

Also speaking at the lunch, the Indian high commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Shri G. Balasubramanian said his country has legislations such as the India Companies Act which has helped to make impact investments and philanthropy easier, stressing that such legislations could help Nigeria.

He explained that India Companies Act states that there has to be a corporate social responsibility to the tune of 2 percent of such companies sent to the social impact budget for proper utilization.

He said “The India Companies Act very clearly states that there has to be a corporate social responsibility to the tune of 2 percent of such companies. After the company crosses a particular turn over limit, the 2 percent of the profit will have to be sent to the social impact budget and it varies from place to place depending on the requirements: building of hospitals, clinics, climate change, orphanages.

“So, we have the society registration act, India companies act which I mentioned earlier amongst others.

These are some of the legislations which have made provisions that enable the individual nonprofit organizations as well as the stock exchange to collect money and utilize the money for social impact. These legislations have helped to make impact investments and philanthropy much easier.”