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Experts enumerate impediments to doing business in Nigeria

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By Providence Emmanuel

EXPERTS across key sectors of the economy have highlighted some of the impediments to doing business in Nigeria, and  possible ways of tackling them. Some of these obstacles include government’s poor knowledge of the financial market, multiplicity of taxes; infrastructure; poor power supply, multiple taxes from different agencies of government; weak transportation system; inability to cultivate available land for agricultural produce; among others.

The experts include Head of Tax and Regulatory Services, PwC, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele; Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman; Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Bolaji Balogun and Managing Director, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Mr. Bola Onadele.

They spoke as panelists at the 2017 WIMBIZ CEO/Policy Maker interactive series with the theme: ‘Ease of Doing business: A Policy Dialogue on Regulations’.

In his submission, Oyedele described tax as very important and life blood of any economy. He said, “tax is never a stand alone issue. Tax is what you collect from the prosperity of the people, so if businesses are not thriving and individuals have no income, there is nothing to call tax. It is a fundamental issue, looking at tax in isolation will never work.

“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) brought in additional five million into the tax net, 800,000 additional companies into the tax net, the tax net is increasing but the tax base is decreasing. There are multiplicities of taxes, officially there are 61 different taxes and unofficially over 200 taxes.

Another thing is inconsistencies in government policies, we have to start by looking at having a robust consistent and well coordinated policies, build strong institution. What we have now are institutions that have vested interest but they make politically correct statements. People want to do business whether they are foreign or domestic investors, they just want to do business, Nigeria should stop coming in the way of business, let’s deal with our problem, it is self inflicted, it is not God, it is not natural disaster.”

Onadele, in his presentation said, “Until we start respecting capital in this country, we would not be going far. It is challenging when there is multiplicity of exchange rate, it is challenging when you return the market from 2017 to 1990. Government does not understand financial management.

“The government was dealing with two variables it does not control: crude oil and exchange rate. We told them then that if the crude oil revenue has dropped, the exchange rate cannot remain low, it is just simple adjustment. Until we have people who understand financial market in the relevant agencies, there would be challenges.”

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