Professor Yemi Osinbajo
By Yinka Kolawole
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has charged regulatory agencies to fast-track the certification processes for exports to drive competitiveness.
He gave the charge when he received a report of an Ad-Hoc Committee of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, on Agro-Export and the presentation of a National Action Plan 7.0 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, Osinbajo stated: “There has to be a complete reorientation on the exercise of regulatory authority in the country in order for businesses and investors to thrive in Nigeria.
“There is a problem if people who want to export cannot export due to what seems like too many regulations.
“There are too many regulatory requirements. Too many regulations kill output. We have to take a second look at how we regulate. Over-regulation is killing businesses. It kills investments. An agric exporter can’t export perishable produce after months.”
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The Vice President lamented that there are also processes of product certifications that take so long on the regulatory queues in Nigeria, while businesses from outside the country with swift regulatory regimes will then bring the same products into the country to sell.
“Because our certification processes are slow, others from outside nations (from neighbouring countries based on an ECOWAS agreement) with faster processes can bring their products and sell here, while our own businesses are still on the queues of regulatory agencies,” he added.
Presenting the Ad-Hoc Committee of the PEBEC on Agro-Export earlier, the PEBEC Secretariat said findings revealed among others that the exportation flow as regards payment and verification is extremely cumbersome.
The report also noted that exporters complained about the “imposition of the NAFEX rate on export proceeds, which limits their access to foreign exchange and their inability to utilise their export proceeds. (For instance, dollars domiciled in exporters accounts cannot be utilised for freight payment for export).
“There were multiple physical cargo examinations by Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies, and there were also “multiple and sometimes overlapping documentation requirements” from government regulatory agencies,” it added.
“The Council, therefore, resolved to approve an Agro-Export Action Plan that will remedy the situation and also approved a 60-day National Action Plan 7.0 that continues the ease of doing business reforms of the federal government.”
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