The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with the Inter-Agency Committee on stopping Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) held a two-day virtual and physical capacity building on 28 & 29 June 2021.
The programme was organized to build the capacity of senior and mid-level negotiators drawn from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government, who are involved in negotiating international agreements with foreign nations and companies for Nigeria. It was designed to help the negotiators prepare for the risks associated with negotiating trade, investment, tax, natural resources and environmental agreements for Nigeria.
His Excellency, the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON delivered the opening address and stated that poorly negotiated economic agreements had led to illicit financial flows and losses for many nations. He maintained that the quality of negotiators representing the country reflects in the quality of the agreements signed. He added that relevant skills, transparency and due process must be encouraged in the negotiation of such agreements.
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, explained that the capacity building was aimed at equipping Nigerian negotiators for improved terms of engagement with the rest of the world and mitigating IFFs. Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters emphasized the need to develop a crop of Nigerian officials skilled in international negotiations in general with specialization in key thematic areas.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, spoke on “Understanding Investment Agreements”, during which she presented the work being done by NIPC and Nigeria’s International Investment Agreement (IIA) team in reforming Nigeria’s Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to attract Responsible, Inclusive, Balanced and Sustainable (RIBS) investments. She also shared the work done on the 3 phases of reforms in line with Nigeria’s sustainable development objectives. Similarly, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President (Office of the Vice President) Mr Ade Ipaye gave an insightful presentation on “Understanding Tax Agreements”.
Mrs Patience Okala, Legal Adviser, NIPC and Lead Negotiator of Nigeria’s IIA team, facilitated the breakout session on Investment Negotiations as resource person. She took the participants through the core elements in IIAs, recent reforms of Nigeria’s legal framework for investment, the challenges facing developing countries in IIA reforms and provided practical tips for negotiations in line with the policy priorities of government in attracting RIBS investments.
Other resource persons who facilitated other breakout capacity building sessions were: Prof Jonathan Aremu, an International Trade Consultant (Trade Negotiations); Mr Mathew Olusanya, Coordinating Director of Tax Operations Group, Federal Inland Revenue Services (Tax Negotiations); Prof. Dayo Ayoade, an Environmental Law and Energy Policy Expert (Natural Resource Negotiations) and Dr. Priscilla Achakpa, Special Adviser to the Minister of State for Environment (Environment Negotiations).