August 3, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

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AfCFTA: Ease of Doing Business reforms paramount for competitiveness — Official

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment says implemention of E reforms is paramount for Nigeria’s competitiveness in AfCFTA.

By Emmanuella Anokam

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment says implemention of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) reforms is paramount for Nigeria’s competitiveness in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Mr Kamar Bakrin, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, made this known on Saturday in Keffi, Nasarawa State, at a workshop organised by the ministry.

Bakrin, in a presentation, said EODB reforms, being implemented by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) would continue in order to make Nigeria highly competitive for AfCFTA.

Recall that PEBEC was set up in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country an easier place to start and grow a business.

In his presentation entitled `Enabling Business Reforms Through the Presidential Priority Projects’ Bakrin said the council was mandated to move Nigeria upwards in the World Bank EODB rankings, in which Nigeria was ranked 131, out of 190 economies.

He said the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) was assisting the MDAs to implement the reform agenda of the PEBEC.

According to him, the reforms advanced by the PEBEC are structured to eliminate business barriers.

Bakrin said they were also structured to eliminate constraints that could mitigate against Nigeria being competitive for business and investment, which was based on eight key indicators.

He listed the indicators as paying taxes, construction permit, gettting electricity, registering property, trading across the border, getting credit and starting a business.

“Since implementation of PEBEC reforms commenced, Nigeria has moved up 39 places on the World Bank EODB Ranking.

“ In 2019, Nigeria moved up 15 places ( to 131st from 146th) in the World Bank EODB Index as a result of removal of several bottlenecks in government processes such as reduced turnaround time and improved adoption of e-services.

“This was achieved through such measures as: Implementation of a robust Electronic Registration and Payment system by the Corporate Affairs Commission, for more efficient business registration processes.

“All fresh registrations and payments are now processed electronically within 24 hours; also Integration of Company Registration Portal (CRP) with the Electronic Stamping Portal of the Federal Inland Revenue Service for seamless processing of registration applications.

“There is successful implementation of the Business Incentive Strategy (BIS) which reduced cost of registration of business by 50 per cent to enable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises formalise their businesses,” he said.

In order to consolidate its achievements thus far, he said PEBEC commenced implementation of its fifth National Action Plan in February 2020 set to deliver reforms in key areas.

He said that though implementation of the fifth National Action Plan was put on hold due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry aimed to conclude implementation and move up to Top 100 on EODB ranking.

Mr Battah Ndirpaya, Head Public, Private Partnership of the ministry, in a presentation said the Executive Order 001 and Executive Order 003 of 2007 contained far reaching policies with direct benefit for businesses.

The presidential executive order 001 and 003 dwell on promotion of transperency and efficiency in business environment and support for local content in public procurrement by the Federal Government.

According to him, EO1 implementation has five main pillars, which are transperency, default approval, one government, entry experience of travelers and visitors, and port operations.

He called for harmonisation of the operations of all agencies at the ports into one single interface station to facilitate conducive business environment and economic growth.

The two-day workshop had ‘Improvement of Business Enabling Environment and Industrial Policy Growth’ as its theme.

It was aimed at building the capacity of staff and critical stakeholders as ambassadors of EODB in the grassroots.(NAN)

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