THE Federal Government has initiated moves to facilitate ease of doing business in Nigeria by approving a 60-day national action plan to push through short term reforms in the nation’s seaports, airports, immigration, among others. Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this after an expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) attended by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara at the State House. He said the Council will within the 60-day period focus on areas that will not only deliver tangible changes for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) but also help improve Nigeria’s entire business environment within the shortest possible time. His words: “We are trying to improve the business environment in three broad respects; the entry and exit of goods; entry and exit of persons into Nigeria, and then general government transparency- transparency and efficiency in government agencies, parastatals. The whole idea is that we are able to provide an environment for those who want to do business in Nigeria- local businesses and of course, foreign businesses.” He added that the participation of the leadership of the National Assembly at the meeting was to ensure that all the necessary legislations relating to the reforms were passed by the legislature. Osinbajo said the renewed synergy with the legislature was to ensure that all the necessary legislations relating to the reforms were passed by the National Assembly. He added that the expected outcome of the new plan will be noticeable in improvements in all the key areas of government that facilitate trade and commerce. “There are pieces of legislations that we are also looking forward to seeing. We are working together with the National Assembly to ensure that these pieces of legislations are passed. “There are improvements which we expect to see at our ports – improvements at our airports, improvements at the seaports, improvements in immigration visas etc. So there are quite a few things that we have seen and which we will continue to look at. The set timelines in the action plan were to ensure that we are not just speaking about these things without necessarily tying ourselves down to specific timelines,” he said. Specific timelines In his own remarks, the Senate President stressed the importance of the executive/legislature collaboration in creating a conducive business environment for both local and foreign businesses in Nigeria. He commended the efforts of the executive, pledging that the National Assembly would look into the issues that are necessary to improve the business environment in the country. A statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, noted that other officials present at the meeting were Ministers who are members of the Council including the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami; Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Dr Okey Enelamah; Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola; and Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Other members of the Council at the meeting include Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.), Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede and; Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman.
February 23, 2017