A meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has approved a second 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 2.0) to drive reforms aimed at making Nigeria an easier place to do business.
The meeting, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, approved that NAP 2.0 would run from October 3 till December 1 and was expected to further reduce the challenges faced by SMEs, when getting credit, paying taxes or moving goods across the country, among others, by removing critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.
According to a statement signed by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, PEBEC Secretary/SSA Industry, Trade and Investment (OVP), the reforms would also improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2019.
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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.
The statement explained that some of the reforms to be implemented to ease the process of starting a business included eliminating the manual registration process at Corporate Affairs Commission in 10 additional states, increase access to credit
for SMEs by registering at least 300 microfinance banks on the collateral registry and enforce the elimination of illegal roadblocks on major trading routes across the country.
It said MDAs had 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 statement pointed out that the Executive Order (E01), which was signed by Osinbajo on May 18 ensured that citizens had 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 Ease of Doing Business reforms will be implemented over the next 60 days by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), which became fully operational in October 2016. We will recall that the EBES implemented PEBEC’s inaugural National Action Plan (NAP 60) from February to April 2017.
The EBES is coordinated by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (OVP).
The statement recalled that PEBEC was established in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari to remove critical bottlenecks and
bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.
Osinbajo is the chairman of the council, with the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, serving as vice chairman.
Ten other ministers, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as
representatives of the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano states, and the private sector are also members.
The statement also said the World Economic Forum recently released its Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2017-2018, with Nigeria rising two ranks up from its previous 127th to 125th position.