Members of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, (PEBEC) have embarked on a working tour of the South-South states to build on the recorded gains which saw the country climb 24 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI).
According to PEBEC, the tour in the South-South was necessary to listen, implement and track ease of doing business in a region that has been laying the golden egg for the country.
In her opening remarks in Uyo, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole acknowledged that South south was essential to Nigeria’s economic growth, hence the need to promote the ease of doing business initiatives among businesses in the region.
“The South south generate 95% of the country revenue and 80% of Nigeria’s budgetary provision. Therefore very timely that this tour comes here for benefit of South south business and entrepreneurs,” Oduwole said.
The Council stated that starting business now in Nigeria is easier as against the hardship experienced three years ago. It noted that business name reservation can be done within 4 hours online, while company registration can be completed within 24 hours.
Other gains were highlighted to include tax payments, trading across borders, entry and exit of people through electronic application for visa, as well as getting credit through National Collateral Registry, (NCR).
Since the federal government started a rigorous campaign to shore up the country’s ease of doing business global ranking, Nigeria has implemented 140 reforms. The success has made Nigeria to be one of the most entrepreneurial country in the World according to World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report 2018.
Giving their testimonials at the event, three business owners from Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers State shared their experiences on how they have eased a sigh of relief in running their businesses and the challenge areas where government should do more.
Mr Akan Udom, a self-inspired entrepreneur shared how it was easier to register and launch his logistics and e-marketing business. Udom, however, decried high taxation and called for a review to ease cost of running businesses.
In another account, Mr Hope Obeten from Calabar attest to the speed of company registration process compare with when he had to wait for 2 years before getting his registration completed. Obeten also expressed his delight at getting Bank of Industry (BOI) loan within 2 weeks.
Mr. Iroghama Obuoforibo, Chief Operating Officer of Starzs group of company commended the federal government for its effort in developing local businesses. The Edo born Maritime security and logistics boss wants federal government to sustain grant funding like YouWin!, lower taxes for manufacturing sector, reduce bureaucratic bottle neck and increase technical education for youths for quality manpower and to contribute to the industrial revolution. Obuoforibo also called on State governments to emulate the YouWiN funding ideology at state level.
In his keynote address, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel represented by the Secretary to State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem assured that the State will continue to lend its support to the ease of doing business.
“Recently, I approved the establishment of One Stop investment Committee, OSIC to enhance ease of doing Business especially in the agriculture and non oil sector.”
“Akwa Ibom is the most peaceful and investment friendly state in Nigeria. In 2017, the Country Director of World Bank, Rachid Benmenssaonid at Banks dinner session adjudged Akwa Ibom as the best business environment in Nigeria. Also National Bureau of Statistics in the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2018 rated Akwa Ibom State as second highest attraction of foreign direct investment capital after Lagos State.”
Emmanuel noted that the focus of his completion agenda is to develop SME sector for poverty alleviation, wealth creation and employment opportunities.
Among dignitaries who attended the event were the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and Prince Akpabio, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Akwa Ibom.