Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says state governments and their agencies have a significant role to play in ensuring an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at a virtual meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

A presentation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Programme coordinated by the secretariat and the World Bank was discussed at the meeting.

The SABER Program is a 3-year (Jan 2023 – Dec 2025) performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat.

The purpose is to incentivise and strengthen the implementation of business enabling reforms in Nigeria specifically across the participating States of the Federation and the FCT.

Osinbajo said that those charged with responsibilities at the state level had their work cut out for them.

“If we are going to have the kind of business environment that our country deserves and that can make a difference for our economy, it is the hard work at the sub-national level that would really move the needle.

“The states’ process is a very important one and I hope that we will be able to spend individually, especially in the states, a fair amount of time trying to work out how this will work in actual practice in our various States,” he said.

The vice president said that at the Federal level, it had been a major challenge  trying to coordinate agencies and parastatals.

In her remarks, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, the Special Adviser on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary of PEBEC, said that collaboration was ongoing for over two years in conceptualising the SABER Programme.

“It is the first programme of this size that the World Bank is embarking on at this scale globally.

“The programme is a 750 million dollars operation comprising two main areas – 730 million dollars Programmee–for-Results Financing (PforR) component and 20 million dollars technical assistance for investment project financing,” she said.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs  Zainab Ahmed, had made a formal request to the World Bank for the preparation of SABER Programme with government Partners.

Present at the virtual PEBEC meeting were some of the Chairpersons of the Ease of Doing Business Council in various States across the country including Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun States.

The  Deputy Governors of Abia, Cross River and Kaduna; Secretary to the State Government, Anambra; Federal Ministers, including the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Niyi Adebayo; Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola and Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama were also present.

Others were the Commissioners of Finance and Economic Development in Ekiti and Ogun states, representatives of governors, other senior government officials as well as the World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Mr Shubaham Chaudhuri.

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