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Nigeria woos multinational companies back with ease of doing business

…Aims to be amongst 100 world economies by 2019
By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-Ongoing economic reforms subsumed in the recently signed executive orders and the ease of doing business packages are strategies to bring back multinational companies who have departed the country, the Federal government said Tuesday.

The government is also targeting to move the country into 20 places in the first year of the implementation of the orders in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index to be amongst 100 countries within the next three years.

Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank, according to the Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business report.

Recall that the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had two weeks ago signed three Executive Orders which included:  “Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment; Submission of Annual Budgetary Estimates by all Statutory and Non-Statutory Agencies including Incorporated Companies wholly owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Support for Local Content in Public Procurements by MDAs of the FGN.”

The country has had many companies leaving its shores in the recent times and bringing them back has become the focus of the government.

To actualize the objective, the government held a workshop for federal government agencies, parastatals, corporations and companies on the operationalisation of the executive order on promotion of Transparency and efficiency in the business environment at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.

The workshop also focused on “Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment and Support for Local Content in Public Procurements by MDAs of the FGN”.

Speaking at the event, the Head of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita said there were hopes that the companies would return.

She said: “It is worthy of note that, Government is committed to creating transparency in the business environment and enunciation of policies that would motivate investors to invest their funds in profitable business activities in the country.

It is therefore hoped that all companies that had hitherto relocated from the country some years back will see reasons to be convinced by the sincerity of purpose being displayed by the present administration in creating conducive business environment for genuine investors for them to be motivated to return”.

Also speaking, the Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Habiba Lawal, said the Executive Order was geared towards achieving improved business environment, saying that the MDAs would drive the policy.

“The successful operationalization of the provisions of the Executive order requires the collective effort of us as the critical stakeholders in the public sector. In this regard, the objective of this workshop is an awareness campaign to introduce Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council – Ease of doing  Business Environment Secretariat (PEBEC-EBES).

“Its operationalization is expected to usher in a new vista in the conduct of Government Business that would encourage more commitment in the delivery of public services devoid of corruption, indiscipline and ineptitude.

“To deliver the expected promises of the ‘Change Agenda’, the Public Service must be primed to effectively perform its role as a catalyst for the efficient implementation of government policies and programmes and the delivery of essential services.

Indeed, a major policy thrust of the current Administration is to ensure efficient, effective to enhance the capacity of the drivers of government policies and programmes implementation.

“This policy thrust of government as enshrined in the Executive Order on the promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment, mandated all public institutions to ensure the creation of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive by promoting transparency and efficiency, diversification and support for local content in all public procurements, in order to stimulate the local content of the Nation.

To achieve this objective, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are to adopt openness in the conduct of their functions, contracting procedures and publishing of contracts. In addition, the executive order seeks to promote a vibrant local industry by mandating MDAs to ensure at least 40 per cent local content in all procurement procedures”, she said.

Also speaking, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Vice Chair of Presidential Enabling Business environment council (PEBEC), Okechukwu Enelamah said government had started receiving testimonies about the reforms, believing that the international community would as well see it as such.

“The executive orders are a step in the right direction. The problem is not Nigeria but the environment and we can fix this environment.

“We believe that this reforms need to be system wide hence this workshop for us to work and shine together.

“The reforms are necessary to improve business climate. Our objective is to improve on 20 areas of ease of doing business. Some of the areas are entry and exit of goods through the ports”, the Minister said.


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