Stakeholders from the Private sector that gathered recently at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Victoria Island on Thursday, February 7th, 2019, for an engagement forum with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), got an opportunity to give honest feedback on the business terrain in Lagos.
In attendance representing the Federal Government were Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade, and Investment and senior representatives from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) such as Customs, Immigration, FIRS, LIRS, and FRSC.
The private sector was represented by a vast swathe of sectors from Manufacturing to Logistics, Law, Banking & Finance, Media, and more.
In his opening address to the group, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment highlighted the importance of feedback for PEBEC:
“crucially, the private sector has also played a role in providing feedback, what i call constructive feedback. constructive doesn’t mean just positive feedback. in fact, critical or negative or not-so-positive feedback can be even more important.
“as the saying goes: ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend.’ you’d rather your friend tells you the way it is, so you can correct things, instead of sugarcoating it and causing you to keep repeating the same mistakes.”
Praise for Lagos
The Minister also paid tribute to Lagos state for strides made in ease of doing business.
“i want to acknowledge lagos state because in many respects, lagos state understands the value of ease of doing business for lagos as the commercial hub of the economy. they are not doing it for the federal government. they are not doing it for dr j (jumoke oduwole) or pebec, they are doing it for lagos.”
After the Minister’s address, the Q & A session commenced. There was universal praise for PEBEC and their “Business Made Easy” (BME) initiative with each member of the private sector pointing out noticeable improvements.
The praise was, however, balanced with complaints directed at MDAs. LIRS placing liens on accounts, feedback delays from the EEG (Export Expansion Grant), frustration in clearing goods at Customs, and web portals for tax payments not operating as efficiently as expected.
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Each senior representative from the mentioned MDAs was given a chance to respond to the complaints and promised to make improvements.
The Minister thanked everyone for their questions and comments and encouraged the private sector to come forward with their issues in order to ensure the feedback loop that PEBEC depends on is as efficient as possible.
In July 2016, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council was established to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda. The council is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
EBES – The Enabling Business Environment Secretariat became fully functional in October 2016 and is mandated to implement the reform agenda of PEBEC.