The Federal Government through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has inaugurated its fifth accelerator aimed at rapid implementation of reforms for further improvement of the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
The National Action Plan (NAP 5.0) is the fifth of its kind since the establishment of the PEBEC in 2016 and will run from 5th February to 4th April.
Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
“The fifth National Action Plan provides us with another window to deepen and implement business climate reforms for SMEs.
“ As is our custom, the upcoming reforms are being communicated to the public along with the agencies responsible and the expected impact so we can all jointly collaborate and actualise the progress of these reforms.’’
The NAP 5.0 was launched by Alhaji Mohammed Bello, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and Oduwole, at the FCT Lituation sub-national Ease of Doing Business event on Feb. 4.
According to Oduwole, the new action plan is not completely different from the previous plans. Instead, it is all about continuously improving on the previous efforts that have already been made.
She further explained that while the indicators are basically the same, the government is prioritising some over the others.
“We prioritise some over the others. But definitely, we keep working in a sort of concentric circle, going deeper and deeper and pushing ourselves more. So, the low-hanging fruits that we’ve taken from 1.0, 2.0 to now 5.0 is getting deeper. Some of them are now more technical, they are back-end. But the impact of it…Nigerian businesses will just notice that things are more seamless and automated. We are really pushing automation in different areas”.
“You know it’s all about continuous improvement. So, we continue peeling the layers of the onions. For instance, we are looking at FIRS and CAC merging payment so that it’s even more seamless. Dealing with construction permits and registration of properties, the state governments are looking at going to a risk-based system, making sure that the system is more robust, looking at the construction, insurance, and things that can make the construction phases safer and more reliable for the public and the transparency of the requirements.”
Oduwole also disclosed that prior to setting the new action plan 5.0, there was a holistic assessment of Nigeria’s processes. The intention was to ensure a more realistic approach is towards actualising the action plan, she said. During the assessment, they took note of the complaints that were made by the private sector and intend to work together with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies towards solving addressing those. They also examined global best practices in the ease of doing business, with the intention of replicating the ones that are best fit for Nigeria.
Oduwole listed the areas of reforms to be delivered by NAP 5.0 as automation of the land registration process in both Lagos and Kano states in order to reduce the time for the application process by half.
“Reduce the number of inspections in construction permit through implementation of joint inspections by related agencies in Lagos.
“Improve the overall time by 48 hours in customs clearance at the ports by implementing full pre-arrival cargo clearance process,’’ she said.
Over the last three years, Nigeria moved up 39 places, from 170 to 131, on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index.
During the same period, the World Bank has recognised Nigeria a top 10 most improved economy.
Some key reforms implemented since 2016 include the automation of companies’ registration by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and facilitating the legal frameworks for the operation of credit reporting bureaus. More so, the use of movable assets as collaterals for loans in Nigeria.
The PEBEC was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda and is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment as the Vice Chairman.