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Presidency recalibrates settings to grow ease of doing business at ports, others

Barring any change in plans, the federal government has put in place strategies that will among other things effect positive changes in nation’s ports, business visas, and other national interest sectors of the economy.

A statement issued weekend by the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President, Laolu Akande which was made available to Business Hilights, said the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has approved a 60-day national action plan to push through short term reforms.

The strategy meeting was attended by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara at the State House.

Key target of the session according to the statement is to drive new reforms will not only deliver tangible changes for SMEs but also help improve Nigeria’s entire business environment within the shortest possible time.

In his remarks, Acting President made it clear that “We are trying to improve the business environment in three broad respects; the entry and exit of goods; entry and exit of persons into Nigeria, and then general government transparency- transparency and efficiency in government agencies, parastatals”.

Osinbajo added that “The whole idea is that we are able to provide an environment for those who want to do business in Nigeria- local businesses and of course, foreign businesses,” saying “the participation of National Assembly’s leadership at Tuesday’s meeting was to “work together, trying to improve the business environment in Nigeria”.

According to him, the renewed synergy with the legislature was to ensure that all the necessary legislations relating to the reforms were passed by the National Assembly.

“There are pieces of legislations that we are also looking forward to seeing. We are working together with the National Assembly to ensure that these pieces of legislations are passed.”

Principal target of the new arrangement in the views of the Acting President will be noticeable in improvements in all the key areas of government that facilitate trade and commerce.

He said “there are improvements which we expect to see at our ports including our airports, improvements at the seaports, improvements in immigration visas etc.

“So there are quite a few things that we have seen and which we will continue to look at.The set timelines in the action plan were to ensure that we are not just speaking about these things without necessarily tying ourselves down to specific timelines.’’

Responding, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki stressed the importance of the executive/legislature collaboration in creating a conducive business environment for both local and foreign businesses in Nigeria.

While commending the efforts of the executive, he said the National Assembly would look into some of the issues that it could to improve the business environment in the country.

Also present at the meeting were federal ministers who are members of the Council including the Attorney General &Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Dr Okey Enelamah; Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN; and the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Other members of the Council including the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, attended the meeting.