In line with the objective to actively engage members of the organised private and public sector, and to drive awareness about the implementation of relevant business climate reforms, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) recently hosted multiple stakeholder engagement events in Lagos and Kano State.
The series of events took place last week, kicking off in Kano with a focus on the agribusiness value chain and the impact of regulatory agencies. Progress on the reforms delivered in collaboration with MDAs and the Kano State government were shared for feedback and discussions, to enable PEBEC identify opportunities to inform the agenda for the next cycle of reforms commencing in July 2019.
A technical session on Apapa gridlock and call-up system reforms was also organised in Lagos. The session served as a platform for discussions to deliver a gridlock-free Apapa, and enhance the ease of entry and exit into the ports in line with the Trading Across Borders focus area of the Council. Following the last intervention by His Excellency the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) in November 2017, processes were agreed to address the persisting issue but implementation remains a challenge. Recording an impressive turnout with strong private and public sector representation, this session signalled a recommitment to ensuring the delivery of a workable resolution, as stakeholders across board engaged and agreed all agencies in the joint task force must be called to order and made to work together.
On legislative interventions of the Council, the Lagos forum was also well attended by members of the legal community and other stakeholders, as it shone a spotlight on the legal reforms delivered in several focus areas such as Getting Credit and Starting a Business. In particular focus were the proposed Omnibus Bill, and the Companies Allied Matters (CAM) Bill – a repeal and re-enactment of the current Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). The CAM Bill has undergone its first review in 29 years with the support of several members of the public and private sector, including legal firms. It is anticipated to be one of the most significant legal reform initiatives by any Nigerian government in the last three decades, having passed its third reading in February 2019 and been transmitted by the National Assembly to the President for assent.
Speaking at the Lagos event, the Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment and PEBEC Vice-Chair, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, applauded the private sector for its co-operation and support towards driving the Ease of Doing Business reforms in the country. The Minister stated, “The vision of this administration is to ensure a more conducive environment where small and big businesses are able to function effectively and with ease. These forums provide an opportunity for us to interact and communicate the progress of reforms while receiving feedback from stakeholders.
“This year, we had a great start with the launch of the Kano Small Claim Court in January, following their launch in Lagos State in 2018 and the positive performance recorded since its inception. The anticipated passage of the CAM Bill will be another significant hurdle in our efforts to improve the effectiveness of company law, help businesses grow, and drive our Doing Business ranking as a nation.” he said.
In her comment at the forums, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade & Investment & PEBEC Secretary, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole stated that it is the objective of the Council to continually engage key stakeholders on growth opportunities in different sectors of the economy, and to facilitate feedback on areas for improvement as it relates to the ease of doing business mandate. “In our usual approach of collaboration and inclusiveness, we partnered with several members of the private sector to ensure strong participation, engagement and impact from this series of stakeholder sessions. These included the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), the Nigerian Bar Associations-Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), and PDFII, as well as the state governments, MDAs and other key stakeholders. We could not do this without them.” she said.
PEBEC was established in 2016 to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda. The Council’s model aligns with global best practice, and is filtered by a number of domestic and international rankings including the World Bank Doing Business Index (DBI), which is reported annually.
Dr. Jumoke Oduwole
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (OVP)/
Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council