The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has announced that the Federal Government is collaborating with Microsoft to digitally transform the delivery of services to the investor community in Nigeria and evolve the regulatory and procedural environment governing business incorporation.
He stated in a document that the collaboration was through Microsoft’s Africa Open4Business programme.
Enelamah said by harnessing advances in cloud technologies, “the ministry aims to transform the reach and scope of government-to-investor services in the country, creating an agile and investment-friendly environment.”
According to him, the ministry believes that digital technologies play a pivotal 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.”
The minister said, “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.
“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.”
Industry players said that the partnership between the ministry and Microsoft would 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.
The World Bank compiles the Ease of Doing Business ranking annually in partnership with governments, and Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 190 economies.
The Ease of Doing Business report stated, “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.”
Speaking on the support from Microsoft, the Public Sector Director, Microsoft Nigeria, Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, said, “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 the MITI modernise and digitise this information, we will enable it to engage with investors on a frequent and timely basis to increase investment levels and, ultimately, the pace of job creation.”
The Director, Government Solutions, Microsoft Africa Initiatives, Azza El Shinnawy, added, “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 the MITI to proactively communicate opportunities to a global community of investors, expanding investment horizons and showing that Nigeria is indeed open for business.”
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