By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—A Sub-national Environment Survey report submitted to the National Economic Council, NEC, has identified poor electricity supply, deplorable road infrastructure and multiple taxations as some of the challenges impeding the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria.
The report was submitted to NEC by the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole during the virtual meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Dr Oduwole said her office would be working with the states to resolve the issues.
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According to her, “Businesses have said that electricity supply is beat low, the hours are low. Then, we will be working with the governors and federal agencies to look into areas like that.
“SMEs also talked about road infrastructure, they talked about regulatory challenges, paying of taxes, the multiplicity of charges.
“So, we will be working with the state’s internal revenue agencies to ensure that there is harmony.”
Dr Oduwole disclosed that the report was a peer review document that would enable state governments to see how they are doing in comparison with other states in providing a conducive business environment.
“So, the Ease of Doing Business Councils reports to the states’ executive councils and they implement the report just like PEBEC and FEC; so, the system is replicated across the country.
“We believe that as we continue to drill down into Nigeria, progressively making it easier to do business, our productivity will increase as we support our SMEs.
“We make sure that on competitiveness, we are working actively at it even as AFCFTA has gone into life and the journey of continuous improvement and institutionalization of the reform agenda is the top priority for the administration”, she said.
She explained that the survey was conducted across Nigeria by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, which has been on a nationwide tour, called iteration, since 2019, to meet and interview SMEs on their operations.
“So, we decided to carry out an empirical survey; it was carried out by KPMG.
“The methodology framework had earlier been approved by NEC as far back as 2018 and we have four homegrown indicator areas on which the survey is based which are infrastructure and security; transparency and access to information; the regulatory environment and skills and labour readiness in each state and the Federal Capital Territory.”
Oduwole said that the objective of the report was to provide a status report of the state’s business climate and to provide a baseline on the business climate of each state.
“It is also going to help states as they prepare for their sub-national World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking which is done once every four years,” Oduwole stated.
Also, briefing correspondents on the government’s plans to formulate a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Policy on prudent public spending, Governor of Nassarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, said this is to strengthen accountability.
Governor Sule said that the policy would also provide an “independent objective assessment of the merit of public policy strategies, programme as well as projects” and “a source of reliable meaningful information for the citizens to assess government policy.”
According to Sule, the objectives of the National M&E Policy were “to establish monitoring and evaluation as a source of credible information so as to guide government’s decisions, planning, resource allocation and expenditure; to strengthen accountability and feedback by the government to Nigerians; and to provide effective guide for the MDAs for the conduct of M&E functions.
“The policy will also enhance coordination and monitoring and evaluation processes within the Nigerian public sector for standardization in the practice of M&E.
“We noted that the policy recommends that policies by our key programmes and projects must be evaluated and summary of evaluation shall be presented to the Federal Executive Council and the State Executive Council at the state levels.
“We also noted that there’s going to need to establish a National Council on Evaluation under the chairmanship of the Minister of Finance who is responsible for the M&E.”
Sule said that state governments were expected to domesticate the National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy for effective performance tracking as well as continuous monitoring.