Presidential Council Begins Next Phase of Ease of Business Plan

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  •  Nigeria moves two steps in WEF global competitiveness index

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has kicked off the National Action Plan (NAP) 2.0 in pursuit of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

A statement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the new action plan, which will run from October 3 to December 1, 2017, is expected to further reduce the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) when getting credit, paying taxes, or moving goods across the country, amongst others, by removing critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.

Osinbajo had on 26th September, 2017, approved a second 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 2.0) to drive reforms aimed at making Nigeria a progressively easier place to do business.

The NAP 2.0 marks the beginning of another reform cycle 2017/2018 which aims to deepen the ease of doing business reforms implemented across the various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the last 12 months and will in turn increase productivity through industrialisation, enhanced exports and foreign exchange earnings, while creating jobs and reducing poverty.

A previous 60-day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business was approved on February 21, 2017. The National Action Plan contained initiatives and actions implemented by responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the Governments of Lagos and Kano States, as well as some private sector stakeholders.

Some of the reforms to be implemented to ease the process of starting a business include eliminating the manual registration process at Corporate Affairs Commission in 10 additional states, increase access to credit for SMEs by registering at least 300 micro-finance banks on the collateral registry, and enforce the elimination of illegal roadblocks on major trading routes across the country.

MDAs have been charged by the Council to treat the Ease of Doing Business initiatives with a sense of urgency and deliver impactful results by implementing the Executive Order 001 on transparency and efficiency. The Executive Order E01, which was signed by Osinbajo on 18th May, 2017, ensures that citizens have complete clarity on all government requirements and processes, better cooperation and improved information sharing among MDAs, as well as requiring proper communication of approval or rejection of applications to Nigerians within the stipulated time frame.

The reforms will also improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2019. Recently, Nigeria rose two ranks up from its previous 127th to 125th position in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2017-2018. The country moved up marginally by one step from 170 to 169 in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business Report.

PEBEC, which was inaugurated in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria, comprises 10 Honourable Ministers, with the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, as Vice Chair, along with the Head of Service, the Central Bank Governor, representatives of the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano State governments, and the private sector.

The statement added that Ease of Doing Business reforms would be implemented in the next 60 days by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), which became fully operational in October 2016.