By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the various revenue collecting agencies of government were frustrating the plans of the Federal Government to re-launch the Nigeria’s economy on a sound footing.
Osinbajo, who emphasized the role of Small and Medium Enterprisess, SMEs, regretted that government agencies delayed the registration of such businesses, thereby stifling efforts aimed at creating more jobs for the people.
Also, the Federal Government, yesterday, begun the evaluation of various options that would eliminate hitches in the Nigerian business climate.
The Presidential Enabling Business Council, PEBEC, took the decision at its monthly meeting.
This came as Osinbajo, who presided over the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said there must be consequences for any social misconduct.
The council considered different options that would enable them make decisions on the nation’s ports, starting a business, construction permits, registering property, getting credit, trading across the borders and enforcement of contracts.
Similarly, Osinbajo while launching the MSME Clinics, designed to sensitize operators of Small Scale Enterprises, SMEs in Nigeria on the best business strategies and assist them financially to grow their businesses in Abuja, said agencies of government were supposed to be facilitators of SMEs, adding that the programme had the backing of President Buhari, the United States government and other key partners.
He also said that the policy would be replicated across the 36 states of the federation, starting with his visit to Abia State, tomorrow.
He said: “Nigerians complain about how practically difficult it is to get approval on practically everything when I toured the nation with the support of USAID.”
The whole idea was to signal support to MSMEs and to find out what their problems were.
“But almost every stand I went, I heard complains about how it was so difficult to get approvals for practically anything. I was frankly taken back on that occasion because practically every point we went we heard the same complaint. We also went to Kano on one of our social intervention programmes and it was the same problem, same issues.”
“Some small manufacturers even said they had to engage consultants to take them through approval processes and it still took over a year to get approval from some agencies.
“Just yesterday, at the quarterly business forum with the organised private sector, one of the participants again complained very loudly about the near impossibility of getting approvals for manufacturing something. The complain was so loud that everybody in the room agreed with this lady.
“This was for me a very disturbing finding and very disturbing development because it meant that our agencies are yet to buy in to our major plan of economic recovery plan which is to make it easier to do business in Nigeria.”