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Okey Buhari

FG to reconstitute suspended board on review of Corporate Governance Code—Minister

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As part of smart moves to rebound ease of doing business in Nigeria which recently ranked very poor, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah has revealed that all is set for the reconstitution of a board that would review the corporate governance code. The planned reconstitution of the board had been suspended in January this year, but the quest to lift ease of doing business necessitated it again.

Enelamah, who spoke at the 2017 KPMG’s CFO Survey Report Presentation, held in Lagos noted that ‘Ease of Doing Business’ has become a critical benchmark for assessing the competitiveness of global economies.

The ease of doing business index is an index created by the World Bank Group, in which higher rankings or a low numerical value indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.

The reverse is the case with lower ranking, in which Nigeria was ranked 169th position out of 190 countries in the 2017 index. The development gave many a cause for concern, especially as the country is struggling to exit current recession, which can be jeopardised with the current ranking by scaring prospective investors.

The minister maintained that consistent efforts to create conducive environment for domestic and foreign trade would fast track nation’s industrialisation and boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria.

Explaining more on what government had been doing to ease ways of doing business in Nigeria; the minister said the government has put in place various initiatives to facilitate the ease of doing business in Nigeria, which implementation plan is being tracked over the next 60 days to improve business operations in Nigeria.

Enelamah added that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are now developing vibrant a communications strategy through clear-cut established channels.

These channels, in his views, would ultimately improve communication linkages at the relevant government agencies, and create closer interaction mechanisms between government and various stakeholders.

The implementation of a communications strategy would also ensure that the ministry spearheads a relentless awareness campaign in order to bridge the knowledge gap between the ministry and its stakeholders.

According to him, “We can do the right thing and it will work for us. We can create enabling environment. Singapore is draconian in enforcing laws but it impacts on ease of doing business. You need to keep raising voices.

“We are working to develop many channels of communications and ways for you to reach us like call centres, online places, and websites of MDAs. MDAs should have websites that are working. We will also make use of electronic platforms to boost communication.

“If you apply the right success formula and do the right things long enough, you will get the right result and you will engender confidence on the foreigners out there. Government wants to partner with business community,” he added.

The Partner and Head, Audit Services, KPMG in Nigeria, Tola Adeyemi, said the CFO report is a validation of what the CFO’s believe government priority should be for 2017.

He said CFOs identified weak infrastructure, foreign exchange (FOREX) volatility and unfriendly business environment as the major factors impeding the nation’s economic growth, and urged government to adopt sustainable measures that would help tackle the problems in medium to long term plans.


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