The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has asked the government to sustain and consolidate all the achievements recorded in the area of Ease of Doing Business (EOBD) in the country.
The MAN appreciated the significant progress made in that area within a short period by removing all trade facilitation constraints and attract foreign capital inflow to the country.
Frank Udemba Jacobs, president of MAN while appraising governments national action plan on EODB in the country challenge government to expand the scope of the programme and take cognisance of other constraints to businesses so as to enable the private sector effectively key-in and benefit from an over-all lower cost business environment.
Such constraints according to Jacobs include the cumbersome procedures and exorbitant administrative charges of Government Regulatory Agencies and unharmonised multiple taxes and levies across the three tiers of Government;
The president also said there is the need to encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularly hold stake-holders consultative fora where the private sector can be briefed on activities of MDAs as well as deepen the existing reforms by including indices that will effectively enforce the reduction in the cost of doing business.
He also sought the development of 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 and also the expansion of the set objectives under “getting electricity” to include those that would address the challenges of electricity inadequacy, improper pricing and metering.
Jacob further urged government to examine the performance level of the special funding windows provided for businesses with a view to addressing the current poor access to credit and eliminate all forms of road blocks set up by commissioned revenue collection agents of Government in active connivance with security agencies on the highways.
Speaking further, the MAN president called for the improvement on the websites that are currently not operator-friendly and make them more interactive, while institutions like NBET, TCN, GENCOs and NERC should resolve the dispute between manufacturers and the Discos to avert the failure of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
In addition, the MAN called for the review and effective monitoring of the implementation of all activities under “trading across borders” which operators confirmed is yet to be implemented, while urgent steps be taken to streamline the duplication of mandates and functions of Government Regulatory Agencies;
He also asked for the sustenance of the positive trend of crafting appropriate policies and infrastructure upgrade to reduce the cost of doing business to the barest minimum.
“In recapitulation, one can objectively say that Government has done well in its efforts to advance the EODB and there seems to be a reasonable improvement in the business environment. However, Government needs to expand the scope of the Ease Of Doing Business programme to enable business fully reap the dividend of the exercise as the goal is not just to improve the country’s ranking but to genuinely impact businesses positively.
Hopefully, the economy will be redirected to the path of full recovery and sustained growth in due course” Jacobs noted.
He said his members remain unwavering in their belief that there is no other way to expand the economic frontiers of Nigeria and create employment opportunities for millions of the youths than by creating a friendlier business operating environment for manufacturing to thrive.
According to him, Manufacturers will continue to encourage backward integration aimed at encouraging resource-based industrialisation and elimination of the current import dependency of our industries” he added.
Jacobs however, commended the Federal Government for its efforts at improving the current economic situation and for all the steps being taken to pull the economy out of recession.
Noteworthy, he observed are the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is aimed at deepening the diversification and backward integration of the economy, and the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with the mandate to improve the Ease of Doing Business (EOBD) in the country.
“No doubt these would lead to enhanced productivity and overall performance of the manufacturing sector.
An assessment and verification of the performance score card of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) 60-Day National Action Plan revealed that 70 per cent of its seven points objective set in line with the World Bank Indices of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) has been achieved within the set timeline.
The 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. We are hopeful that the processes and procedures required to fully actualize these objectives would be effectively implemented so as to permanently remove constraints to the EODB and improve the global ranking of Nigeria by the World Bank.
Government should also ensure that other aspects of the objectives that are currently Work-In-Progress are properly implemented with a view to improving Nigeria’s competitiveness” he said.