Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that Nigeria moved up 24 places in the recent World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking due to a combination of factors, which include “good people with the right skills, collaboration, implementation strategies, especially removing discretion, attention to detail and consistently doing things properly.”
He noted that although improved ranking by the bank is an evidence of productive collaboration anchored by the federal government ease of doing business initiative, the major challenge was to ensure that the ranking remains “in a constantly vertical sway, and constantly moving up and consolidating and remaining where we are.”
The vice president, who spoke at the Ease of Doing Business Stakeholders’ Engagement Forum at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Abuja yesterday, congratulated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) team, and the reform leaders for the milestone, “in the journey to makeNigeria one of the most attractive destinations for business in the world.”
He said: “You have heard the details of the planning and implementation, and I must say it’s quite impressive. But the subtext is for me perhaps more importantly, and it is about good people with the right skills, collaboration, implementation strategies especially removing discretion, attention to detail and consistently doing things properly.
“I think the subtext is really what we should watch because we have moved 24 steps now, but what does it take to remain in a constantly vertical sway? It is to constantly moving up and consolidating and remaining where we are.
“That’s what I refer to as the subtext; the good people with skills and collaboration, implementation strategy especially ensuring we are able to remove discretion. I will talk about a few of those items I have mentioned beginning with good people. We’ve had the good fortune of working with some of the very best of Nigerians in the public sector and many of them are from the private sector.
“Everybody is from the private sector, so you come into government and you do your bit.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah; Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Yetunde Sadiku of NIPC; Segun Awolowo of NEPC and the reform leaders who you’ve just listened to are smart, extremely talented people, self-motivated professionals. These are extremely good people, and they have the right skills.”
The vice president pointed out that “the real heroes were the agencies trying to move the sometimes monstrous bureaucracies that they have to work with. Immigration is one, the Comptroller General, Babandede, is here; the CAC which was formally headed by Bello Mahmoud, and now Lady Azinge.”
He observed that these were huge agencies that were used to not working efficiently but now have to work efficiently, adding that “it is extremely difficult and challenging to have these individuals who have to do their best to move these agencies forward.”
But Osinbajo wondered what would happen when these persons are no longer where they are presently, and “when you don’t have this excellent mix of individuals.”
Osinbajo said: “This is really the challenge; how to ensure we are able to create a system that works all the time, whether or not those who occupy it are self-motived, extremely talented, should we not be able to find a system that works all the time?
“It is just a system that is set right, has the right attitude and everybody understands what to do, and if you don’t do it, there are consequences. Those are the challenges we have to deal with going forward.”
He also identified collaboration as one of the factors which catapulted Nigeria in the World Bank ranking, adding that this factor is crucial.
“Collaboration is crucial, just as an example of high-level collaboration is the legislature whose members are members of PEBEC. They had 60 days to pass two crucial pieces of legislation; the Secured Transactions in Moveable Assets (The Collateral Registry Act) 2017, and the Credit Reporting Act 2017.
“Those were two important laws we needed to pass in order to give the right impression and to ensure people actually had access to credit, especially small businesses. And they achieved this within the time frame.
“If you know how difficult it is sometimes, the relationship between the executive and the legislature, then you would understand what an absolute miracle that was. The important thing is that working together with the executive and the legislature means we can deliver on our promises to the people of this country. Going forward, we are going to have to pull together and do the right thing,” the vice president stressed.
Further emphasising the need for collaboration among various stakeholders, he noted that such synergy between the federal government on one hand and Kano and Lagos States on the other led to Nigeria’s improved global ranking.
Nigeria moved up 24 places in the World Bank Doing Business index, from 169th to 145th position.