Thursday, August 02, 2018 11.59AM / Enabling Business Environment Secretariat
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for more than 90% of all registered businesses in Nigeria. They provide about 84% of jobs and contribute just under 50% of GDP to the economy. However, these businesses face multiple challenges that hinder their ability to contribute optimally to inclusive growth, including poor infrastructure, a challenging regulatory environment and corruption.
Recognising the importance of strong private sector growth to the country’s economic future, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration determined to make it easier for Nigeria’s entrepreneurs and SME owners to do business. Having an enabling but of critical importance business environment was not only a core pillar of the administration’s economic policy, but critical following a recession caused by Nigeria’s over-reliance on the revenue and foreign exchange earned from oil production, that provided a clear imperative to reform the structure of the economy.
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was inaugurated in July 2016 as the administration’s flagship initiative to reform the business environment, attract investment and diversify the economy to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil. The PEBEC’s principal goal is to make it easier for MSMEs to do business, grow and contribute to sustainable economic activity, and provide the jobs that are essential to improve social inclusion. One of the key indicators of success will be Nigeria’s performance on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business indicators, which provide a global snapshot of a country’s business environment in comparison to its peers. We held 170th place in 2015; our target is to move into the top 100 by 2020.
The initiative is just one in a series of government interventions designed to build a sustainable economy that can provide the jobs that our people need. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was launched in February 2017, provides a roadmap for broad economic reform, with the private sector at the heart of the solution. With one of the lowest revenue to GDP percentages in the world, Nigeria’s government revenue is heavily constrained. It is vital to Nigeria’s longterm economic development that private sector investment be encouraged. The quality and efficiency of the business environment will be a critical factor in achieving this.
The PEBEC is operationalized through a secretariat, which develops and coordinates intervention strategy around focused action plans. The first 60-day National Action Plan (NAP-60) was launched in February 2017 with a focus on delivering immediate improvement in seven of the key indicators on the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators, including Starting a Business, Getting Credit and Trading Across Borders as well as one homegrown indicator – Entry and Exit of People. These reforms focused on automation of services to eliminate manual procedures and promote online procedures, reducing the cost and time for certain processes to be completed, reducing paperwork and increasing transparency. The NAP-60 was augmented by Executive Order 001 (EO1) that laid out five new standards of practice.
These reforms delivered immediate improvement on the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business report released in October 2017, with Nigeria moving up 24 places from 169th to 145th and recognized as one of the 10 most reformed business climates in the world.
From July 2017, the PEBEC focused on cascading the national-level reform structure into the subnational level through individual states. By collaborating with the National Economic Council (NEC), the PEBEC has propagated the replication of subnational ease of doing business structures to implement a coordinated strategic intervention for the entire economy. A second homegrown indicator, Trading Within Nigeria (TWN), was created by the PEBEC to address critical regulatory bottlenecks raised by stakeholders and remove impediments to movement of goods across the country. Significant legislative and judicial reforms have also been achieved working closely with National Assembly and the Judiciary. In 2017, PEBEC in collaboration with the National Assembly, delivered two (2) Acts for enabling access to credit, a vital requirement for MSMEs.
This year the Companies and Allied Matters Act has been repealed and re-enacted by the Senate, and is currently awaiting passage by the House of Representatives. The Judiciary is a strong partner in reforming dispute resolution and settlement, a key factor for investors. The Lagos State Government in April 2018 commissioned 15 small claims courts to handle commercial claims (liquidated money demands) of NGN5 million and below. Adjudication of cases before a small claims court up to judgement is expected to take a maximum period of 60 days. Kano State also recently passed a new Magistrates Courts Law; which will see to the designation of small claims courts in the State in the near future.
Since the inception of this targeted intervention 24 months ago, much has happened. In January 2018, the PEBEC released an outlook document describing some of the work to be accomplished in the current reform cycle. Landmark business environment reforms slated for 2018 include further collaboration with the National Assembly for the passage of an Omnibus bill, a new legislative tool for Nigeria, to remove irritants and bottlenecks from our extant laws. Concerted efforts are being made to upgrade our current trade portal to a more robust National Trading Platform (NTP). This encompasses a more sophisticated single window platform, scanners and a ports community portal for goods being imported into and exported out of the country. The Federal Executive Council has also approved the concession of Nigeria’s flagship international airports in Lagos and Abuja to ensure Nigeria is well placed as a regional hub for investors and business travellers.
In the coming months, as we tackle regulatory challenges and bureaucratic constraints, we will continue to lean on the private sector for the deepening of these reforms through candid feedback and empirical validation on the impact of completed reforms. To drive sustainability, this process is enabled by PEBEC.Report a public service website for feedback and complaints covering nine critical government agencies. With the structures being put in place and institutionalization of reform culture across MDAs, the Nigerian business environment will continue on its improvement trajectory as we collectively strive to make Nigeria a progressively easier place in which to do business.
1. THE NIGERIA EASE OF DOING BUSINESS INITIATIVE
1.2 Realising Nigeria’s Potential through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan
1.3 The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC)
1.4 The PEBEC Implementation Strategy
1.5 2018 Ease of Doing Business Outlook for Nigeria
2. REFORMING NIGERIA’S BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
2.1 The First Wave of Reforms - January to July 2017
2.1.1 First 60-day National Action Plan (NAP-60)
2.1.2 Executive Order 001 on Transparency and Efficiency (EO1)
2.2 Second Wave of Reforms - September 2017 to May 2018
2.2.1 Second 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 2.0)
2.2.2 Third 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 3.0)
2.3 2018 Legislative Reform – Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAM Bill)
2.4 PEBEC.Report app
2.5 Taking Ease of Doing Business to All Nigerians
2.5.1 Trading within Nigeria (TWN)
2.5.2 Subnational Ease of Doing Business Project
3. THE WORLD BANK EASE OF DOING BUSINESS INDEX
3.1 2018 Ease of Doing Business Outlook for Nigeria
3.2 World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2018 Index – Nigeria
3.2.1 What Specific Reforms Did Nigeria Undertake to obtain the 2017/2018 Ranking?
3.3 Actualising Nigeria’s Aspiration to Become a Top Choice for Business
3.3.1 Country in focus – India
3.4 World Bank Subnational Ease of Doing Business Index – Nigeria
3.4.1 States in focus – Kaduna and Ogun
4. LOOKING AHEAD
4.1 Regulatory Reforms – Pilot Project
4.2 The Omnibus Bill
4.3 Subnational Ease of Doing Business Project
6. Appendix I
7. Appendix II