Okechukwu Enelamah

Positively reinforced by its numerous achievements in the past 24 months, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has continued to accelerate its efforts to ensure even better public service delivery and an improved business environment for MSMEs.

The Strategy and Communications Adviser to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Bisi Daniels, disclosed this in a statement.

“Nigeria must improve its ranking by 45 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index over the next two years to achieve its goal of attaining the top 100 by 2020,” the PEBEC Secretary and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, was quoted to have said this after the presentation of the “2018 Making Business Work Report,” of PEBEC, at a meeting of the council.

“Such an ambitious goal requires accelerated and focused execution of Government Executive Order and National Action Plans (NAP),” she added.

“It is clear that Nigeria must now intensify its reform efforts and the PEBEC will continue to work closely with the public and private sectors to institutionalise its reforms, cascade them to state level, and refine and improve the business environment,” she added.

According to the “2018 Making Business Work Report,” the current reform cycle is focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms. They are: deepening existing reforms; through the completion of pending initiatives and ensuring implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management; making the reforms sustainable; through several measures being put in place to ensure progress is sustainable; and Providing support reforms with a robust operating model to accelerate change and build capacity within MDAs.

Continuing, Oduwole said, “Nigeria has come a long way over the past two years, bouncing back from significant macroeconomic distress, and is on the way to becoming a textbook example of how an African country can turn its business.”

As part of its implementation strategy, PEBEC is building the capacity of the MDAs to deliver; strengthening the capabilities of the MDAs for the long-term, to sustain the improvements on an on-going basis; and garnering strong political will and determination by the government to effect changes and improvement.

The statement said the Council was also fostering cooperation between the MDAs and across states, National Assembly and the private sector; ensuring effective coordination between all the relevant agencies to provide a unified view of implications and improvements; and ensuring proper planning to eliminate the critical binding constraints.

Oduwole stated that “in the second half of 2018 and into 2019, the PEBEC will focus primarily on regulators, an Omnibus Bill on business facilitation, and consolidating gains for the economy through the deepening of the subnational Ease of Doing Business project.”

The PEBEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was inaugurated in July 2016 as the administration’s flagship initiative to reform the business environment, attract investment and diversify the economy to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil.

The PEBEC’s principal goal is to make it easier for MSMEs to do business, grow and contribute to sustainable economic activity, and provide the jobs that are essential to improve social inclusion.

One of the key indicators of success would be Nigeria’s performance on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business indicators, which provide a global snapshot of a country’s business environment in comparison to its peers.

“All of the reforms introduced over the past 24 months are reversing decades of neglect and internal governance roadblocks, and improving Nigeria’s business environment,” Oduwole said, noting however that there is still work to do to achieve the PEBEC’s aspiration of achieving a top 100 place on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index by 2020.

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