The Chief Executive Officer of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr. Ola Brown, has commended the Ease of Doing Business Reforms Policy of the Federal Government.
Dr. Brown, who spoke recently at the Lit subnational Tour organized by The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council and the Lagos State Government further urged the federal government not to relent on the Ease of Doing Business Initiatives if the current gains were to be sustained.
The Ease of doing business policy of the federal government in collaboration with the state governments is aimed at ensuring that investors and entrepreneurs are able to carry out their business activities with little or no impediments or obstacles.
The policy is hinged on implementing enabling business environment interventions across the country with Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies working to ensure that processes and regulations are simplified and automated to ensure easier, faster and stress free business environment.
Key features of this initiative include Ease of business incorporation, Trade across borders, prevention of double taxation, faster registration of property, introduction of visa on arrival, and successful legislation of a new Company and Allied Matters Bill 2018, among many others.
Specifically, Dr. Brown spoke about how the Visa on arrival policy has enhanced her business and ensure better and faster healthcare delivery.
“For me, visa on arrival has changed the way my business runs forever. Flying Doctors like every air ambulance service in the world is focused on moving patients from an area where there is an overwhelmed level of care to a more suitable level of care.
“And every year, there is this kind of pilgrimage that goes to the mountain in Chad to look at some historic thing that I haven’t properly researched, but they do a lot of mountain climbing in Chad and there are always accidents. So can you imagine, trying to move an American or a European into a Nigerian hospital, you have to move them to the center of Chad first and wait two days for a visa there while the patient is critical before you can get them into Nigeria.
“And now we can fly directly there and bring them straight into Lagos, they get their visa on arrival when they get to Lagos and we can take them to hospital and I will tell you what that does, each of these patients are intensive care patients, they spend around $50, 000 each. So you can imagine if we are bringing one thousand to five thousand of those patients every year into Lagos.
“It just props up my business. The business services are making money because now they are making money from their charges when they issue visa. The hospitals are making money, the doctors can be paid better salaries. Even sometimes the relatives have to fly in to stay in hotels in Lagos. So it is a really huge boost to the economy.”
The impressive ceremony which was attended by the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, also had other speakers who similarly lauded the FG over the policy.
One of the speakers, Founder of Farmcrowdy, Onyeka Akumah, spoke about his firm’s progress operating from Lagos under a better business environment brought about by the Ease of Doing Business Reforms Policy. He specifically spoke glowingly about the strides of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, under the new policy.
He said: “When investors are coming into the country, it’s a lot easier for them to place their phone on the map to find where the organization is across the country. So CAC registration is not just allowing people to register online easily but it also makes them discover you online and that has been beneficial to us.”
Over the past 3 years, Nigeria has implemented more than 140 reforms, increased its Distance-to-Frontier (DTF) score by over 11 basis points, and moved up 24 places in the World Bank Doing Business Index (DBI) rankings.
In the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) recognized Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world, and highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness in Enabling Business Environment.
Dr. Ola Brown also spoke on the need for Nigeria to take charge of the narrative as it relates to ease of doing business, saying: “One point that I wanted to make about the ease of doing business ranking is that Nigerians don’t have it so easy doing business in even some of the countries that have high rankings.
So you don’t really see so many Nigerian millionaires in Sweden or Japan. But you see a lot of immigrants, able to come here and really really thrive. And I think that we should start telling those stories more because I really think that we are not in control of that narrative and if we can control that narrative and tell those stories of success then we would be able to attract more investments.”