The Federal Executive Council has approved the Business Facilitation Bill called the Omnibus Bill for transmission to the National Assembly.
The Omnibus Bill which seeks to amend twenty-three (23) business-related laws in Nigeria, is sponsored by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at improving the business environment in Nigeria.
The approval of the bill was made known in a press release by PEBEC on Thursday. They noted that the bill was approved at the Federal Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday.
What PEBEC is saying
According to PEBEC, sponsoring the bill was In line with its continuous commitment to improving the business environment in Nigeria through legislative interventions.
Reacting to the approval of the bill, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business & Secretary of PEBEC noted that:
“The PEBEC is optimistic that the National Assembly’s consideration and anticipated passage of the Omnibus Bill into law in the not so distant future will further improve the business environment in Nigeria thereby attracting the much-needed participation and investment from the private sector necessary to actualize the funding objectives of the National Development Plan 2021,” Dr Oduwole said.
What you should know about the bill
- The first version of the Omnibus Bill was produced by the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMoJ) and presented to the PEBEC in 2019.
- The bill is aimed at amending specific laws relating to ease of doing business and embodying such amendments into a single legislation to act as a catalyst for legislative reform of the Nigerian business climate.
- The bill also seeks to amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 with the recognition of electronic share certificates, electronic voting at annual general meetings, and other information in tandem with technology best practices.
- The bill will also amend the Export (Prohibition) Act, to empower the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning to now have clear cut powers to recommend goods that should be restricted from being exported.
- In order to encourage flexibility in terms of prohibited products and prohibition scope, to allow them align with economic realities at any given time.
- The overall benefits of the bill include ensuring efficiency in public service delivery in terms of time, cost, and procedure for doing business, improving transparency, removing outdated provisions from relevant laws, and providing incentives to encourage Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) participation in business, among other things.
- The bill reconciles the provisions of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Act and CAMA to recognize the exemption of free trade zone companies licensed by NEPZA from company registration.
- The bill also provides for the ease in the procedure for increase in share capital by including the option for such decisions to be determined by a resolution of the Board of Directors, subject to the provisions in the articles of association of the company or by the company in general meeting.
- The bill also proposes that the minimum number of independent directors for public companies be revised from three (3) to one-third of the Board.