On Monday, April 29th, 2019, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) completed the fourth National Action Plan (NAP 4.0) which began on March 1st, 2019. The completion of NAP 4.0 marked the end of another 60-day accelerated reform cycle targeted at implementing reforms and promoting accountability.
In the remark by the Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment/Vice-Chair of PEBEC, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, he emphasized the continued need for partnerships and collaborations towards economic growth, transformation and an overall improved business climate. He stated that, ‘’there is a need for government to forge synergy with the private sector towards exploring opportunities of raising capital through the market for infrastructure projects and boost industrialisation’’.
Also speaking on the completion of the 60-day NAP 4.0 reform cycle, the PEBEC Secretary and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole congratulated the MDAs on the successful completion of the NAP 4.0 and urged them to complete the implementation of outstanding reforms. She also thanked private sector and other arms of government for the strong collaboration that has been enjoyed on Nigeria’s ease of doing business initiative, even as we all collectively strive to expand and deepen reforms for continuous improvement of our economy.
During the NAO 4.0 cycle, specific Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) implemented reforms during this period that will improve efficiency, cost savings as well as transparency of processes and systems. These reforms are also a direct response to some of the challenges which SMEs encounter, particularly in the areas of starting a business, enforcing contracts, paying taxes, registering property and dealing with construction permits.
On the implemented reforms during this period, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) enforced compliance of its Service Level Agreement (SLA) on post incorporation filings. This means that post-registration applications are now treated within the timelines specified in the SLA at CAC offices. The Kano State Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Co-operatives and Tourism (KSMCICT) also enforced the use of the newly introduced electronic process for registration of business premises in Kano State. This will largely improve the efficiency in the process for registration of business premises in the State.
Lagos and Kano States Judiciaries have published performance reports and judgements of the Small Claims Courts on their respective websites, as reforms to ease the enforcement of contracts. These courts were set up in April 2018 and January 2019 respectively, to handle liquidated money demands with a threshold of N5 Million and below. The availability of performance reports and copies of judgments of will improve transparency and engender confidence & trust in the judicial system for both States.
The ease of paying taxes was also improved, as the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) worked extensively on driving the implementation and adoption of electronic payment and filing of taxes in Lagos State. This reform is expected to provide access to e-platforms for use by all classes of tax payers.
The Lagos and Kano States Ministries of Physical Planning and Development also drove more awareness and compliance on previously implemented reforms, with constant monitoring and evaluation. Some of these reforms include: the removal of the infrastructure development charge (IDC) for 2-floor warehouses, which saves about N6 Million for stakeholders; the removal of the requirement for submission of certified true copies (CTCs) for purposes of obtaining title documents and survey plans, amongst others. The communication of the implemented reforms has improved efficiency with regards to operations at the State Ministries and translated into cost savings.
The National Action Plan 4.0 concluded with an overall completion rate of 64%.
The Ag. Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Mary Uduk, also in attendance, said that the SEC has been at the forefront of supporting capital market operations, through its development of e-dividends to boost investors’ confidence in the market.
PEBEC was established in 2016 to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda, and is chaired by His Excellency the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with the primary mandate to remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints as well as to drive reforms for economic impact. PEBEC’s model aligns with global best practice and includes a strong performance tracking element that is measured by the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI), which is reported annually.
Dr. Jumoke Oduwole
SSA Industry, Trade & Investment to the President (OVP)