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Wide-ranging reforms necessary for business to flourish in Nigeria: Report

By Mayowa Okekale, Abuja on 01/03/2016

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For development purpose, it is imperative that the business environment in Nigeria is overhauled, because 84 per cent of jobs in the country are provided by Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).

This is contained in a 10 page report from Adam Smith International, on the institutional, regulatory, legislative and associated instruments affecting businesses in Nigeria, presented to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, yesterday, in his office at the National Assembly.

The report also highlighted that, for business to flourish in Nigeria, a number of sections of the constitution must be amended, adding that there should be deletion of Railways from the Exclusive Legislative List and insert in the Concurrent Legislative List.

The report suggested that Nigeria should amend Sections 44(3), 315(5) and 251(1) of her Constitution, dealing with vesting title to minerals on the Federal Government, entrenchment of the Land Use Act in the Constitution and the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court respectively.

The report, centered on Business Environment Legislative Reviews, revealed that “there are at least 25 high-priority legislative interventions and 5 medium-priority legislative interventions that the National Assembly can take to improve business environment in Nigeria.”

It recorded that “in World Bank estimate, Nigeria is ranked 114 of 183 in business prosperity.”

Some of the critical areas discussed in the report included the challenges that present themselves when Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) try to access finance and property, engage in dispute resolution, and make their tax payments.

While revealing that business prosperity in Nigeria has been constrained by inevitability, laws and long processes, it indicated that “registration of company is the foremost barrier against Business prosperity in Nigeria.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his remark, noted: “I feel highly fulfilled today as this forum will lay a very strong foundation for business prosperity in Nigeria. Maybe governance is truly beginning to change in Nigeria.”

Saraki assured that the Senate would ensure quick passage for the proposed bill for business development in Nigeria, saying there would be tight oversight function and implementation on the bill.

However, he lamented that the reports on Business in Nigeria highlights lack of access to finance, weak infrastructure, inconsistent policies, multiple taxation as constraints in Nigeria, assuring that there would be establishment of a federal legislative clearing house to scrutinize and review the bill before 1st reading.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, while speaking on the matter of outdated business laws in Nigeria, said that “it is not as if they are completely bad but need improvement.”

Senator Ali Ndume, Senate Leader, in his comment, maintained that “a country is defined by its economic status. So, I assure that an effective action would be taken by the Senate on this issue.”

•Photo shows Senate President Bukola Saraki with members of the Adam Smith International in a group photo, after the presentation of the report on Business in Nigeria.

Source News Express

Posted 01/03/2016 05:48:19 AM





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