Capital Importation and its repatriation in Nigeria
Capital importation is the lifeline of economic growth for any nation. In Nigeria, the influx of foreign capital plays a pivotal role in driving investment, fostering innovation, and creating employment opportunities. As a fundamental component of globalization, capital importation connects Nigeria to the global economy, enabling the nation to harness external resources for development.
Nigeria being the largest economy and the 2nd largest crude oil reserve in Africa, has made economic structuring efforts to liberalize its economy and accommodate foreign investors by establishing laws and Agencies to promote investments. Thus, foreign investments are not only encouraged, but the Government has also adopted policies to ensure that areas of concern for foreign investors such as, incorporation process, taxation and visa policies are relaxed to a reasonable extent. This article seeks to explore the methods of capital importation, how to invest & repatriation of investment and profit.
How can Capital be imported?
In Nigeria, there is free entry and free exit movement of foreign investment funds and there are several modes or channels through which such funds can be imported. The choice or mode will largely depend on the nature of the investment and the preferences of the investor. Here are a few (common) modes of importing capital into Nigeria:
- Debt-Equity Scheme: This is a debt management program introduced by the Federal Government to promote investment. Through this scheme, Foreigners and Nigerians, Residents or non-residents may purchase Nigeria’s debt instrument at a discounted value, the purchaser will in turn get the Naira equivalent of the face value of the instrument in Nigeria. This scheme is currently being implemented by the Debt Conversion Committee (DCC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the minimum amount of debt conversion to be considered under the Scheme is $250,000.
- Foreign Loans and Credit Facilities: Foreign investors can provide loans or credit facilities to Nigerian Companies in the form of trade finance, or other types of debt financing. Proper documentation and compliance with regulatory requirements are however essential.
- Foreign Trade and Import Financing: Import financing involves obtaining credit facilities to finance the importation of goods and services into Nigeria. This can be a mode of capital importation for businesses engaged in international trade, etc.
Regardless of the mode or method of capital importation, it is important to obtain a Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI), as this is what guarantees the repatriation of capital as well as profits upon the maturity of investment at the official market rate. The (CCI) is a Certificate issued to a foreign investor as evidence of capital importation or an inflow of foreign direct capital investment, either as equity or debt, cash or goods. A CCI is issued by an authorized dealer on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The holder of the CCI can open a foreign currency-denominated account and a special non-resident naira-denominated account into which receipts of capital inflows from its Nigerian investment will be credited.
How can imported capital be invested in Nigeria?
As earlier established, foreign investors may now participate in Nigeria’s economic activities by either partnering with Nigerians or establishing a Company in any sector of the economy. However, it is important to note that under Sections 17 and 21 of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act, there are certain sectors commonly referred to as “the negative list” excluded from this, such as regulated pharmaceutical products, manufacturing of service uniform for the armed forces, production of arms and ammunitions etc.
The methods of investing in Nigeria are divided into two (2) broad categories, and they are:
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): FDI involves a foreign investor participating ‘directly’ in business in Nigeria by either forming and registering a business or partnering to form one with a Nigerian entity, by this mode of investment, an investor is afforded the opportunity of exercising effective control in the management and decision-making of the enterprise. This method of investment has been described as ‘more stable’ as it is likely to contribute more to economic growth, transfer of technology and industrialization, to this end, it is said to be more advantageous.
- Foreign Portfolio Investment: Portfolio investment involves the purchase or investment in financial assets, such as stocks and bonds, in the Nigerian capital market. Unlike foreign direct investment (FDI), which involves acquiring a significant ownership stake and management control in a company, FPI involves investing in financial instruments without acquiring direct control of the underlying assets or companies.
How to repatriate investment and profits
Nigeria currently has no restriction policy on the movement of foreign funds out of the country, hence unconditional repatriation of profit is guaranteed as long as relevant tax laws are obeyed (see section 15(1) Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1995.
The importance of the CCI however, is emphasized here, as foreign investors in Nigeria can only successfully repatriate their investment and profit if the investment was brought under a Certificate of Capital Importation in the first place.
The repatriation process is simple and usually completed within 24 hours, and it is simply initiated by submitting a request to repatriate to the authorized dealer who issued the CCI.
Incentives for Investment
The incentives for such investment include: –
1)Foreign exchange at official CBN rate
2)Servicing of foreign loans
3)Unconditional Repatriation of capital dividend in convertible currency
4)Favorable Tax Policies.
5) Business & Securities advisory
6) Reciprocal concession waivers for common-wealth citizens
7)Industrial tax reliefs, etc.
If you would like to know more about foreign participation and investment opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.