By Franklin Alli
THE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, and the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, yesterday, called on the Federal Government’s Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to tackle other constraints fuelling the cost of doing business in the country.
In separate statements, MAN and LCCI lauded government for the various policy measures put in place to improve the business environment, but said there is the need for government to do more as follows:
“Address the cumbersome procedures and exorbitant administrative charges of government regulatory agencies; harmonise multiple taxes and levies across the three tiers of government; implore government institutions like TCN, GENCOs and NERC to resolve the dispute between manufacturers and the DISCOs to avert the failure of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.”
In the document made available to Vanguard, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, President of MAN, stated: “To enable the private sector effectively key-in and benefit from an over-all lower cost business environment, government should compel Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularly hold stakeholders consultative fora where the private sector can be briefed on activities of MDAs.”
According to him, there is also need to deepen the existing reforms by including indices that will effectively enforce the reduction in the cost of doing business; develop other easily verifiable platforms for the simplified VISA on arrival and submission process because what is currently available is just an e-mail address which is not sufficient for effective performance evaluation.
He said: “From manufacturers’ assessment, 70 percent of government’s seven points objective set in line with the World Bank Indices of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) have been achieved within the set timeline.”
He said that he Council scored above 60 per cent performance on six objectives and only one recorded a low score of 33 per cent. Overall, the performance of the Council is an indicator of other developments that would come from the Council.
Muda Yusuf, Director General, LCCI, while lauding the government’s Executive Orders and the acts on the movable collateral and credit registry, said the initiatives would create the right environment for business and boost investors’ confidence. He, however, noted LCCI’s concern over the indiscriminate and arbitrary queries raised by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service on the value of imports.
The Council noted the frequent disregard of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued by the Customs Headquarter often arbitrary valuation are imposed on importers leading to much higher import payment. The Council suggests that the PAAR issued by the Customs headquarters should be respected by Customs officers at the ports as far as evaluation is concerned.
The use of discretionary valuation by Customs officers at the port is not consistent with the vision of this administration to improve the ease of doing business.”