By Bimbola Oyesola
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) yesterday scored the Federal Government Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), set up with the mandate to improve the Ease of Doing Business (EOBD), 60 per cent on its performance to meet the 60 days action plan.
The MAN President, Frank Jacobs, in the preliminary appraisal of PEBEC, said the Council scored above 60 per cent performance on six objectives, and only one recorded a low score of 33 per cent.
“MAN commends the Federal Government for its efforts at improving the current economic situation and for all the steps being taken to pull the economy out of recession. Overall, the performance of the Council is an indicator of other developments that would come from the Council,” he said.
According to Jacobs, noteworthy of the government programmes are the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is aimed at deepening the diversification and backward integration of the economy, and the establishment of PEBEC with the mandate to improve EOBD in the country.
He said without any doubt, these efforts by government would lead to enhanced productivity and overall performance of the manufacturing sector.
He explained that an assessment and verification of the performance scorecard of PEBEC 60-day National Action Plan revealed that 70 per cent of its seven points objective set in line with the World Bank Indices of EODB has been achieved within the set timeline.
“We are hopeful that the processes and procedures required to fully actualise these objectives would be effectively implemented so as to permanently remove constraints to the EODB and improve the global ranking of Nigeria by the World Bank,” he stated.
The association therefore urged the Federal Government to sustain and consolidate all the achievements recorded within this short period by removing all trade facilitation constraints and attract foreign capital inflow to the country.
He added: “Government should also ensure that other aspects of the objectives that are currently work-in-progress are properly implemented with a view to improving Nigeria’s competitiveness. On our part, we will continue to encourage our members and other investors to take advantage of these initiatives to increase their investments.”
He, however, said that to enable the private sector effectively key in and benefit from an over-all lower cost business environment, there was need for government to expand the scope of the programme and take cognisance of other constraints to businesses.
Among others, he tasked the government to address the cumbersome procedures and exorbitant administrative charges of government regulatory agencies; harmonise multiple taxes and levies across the three tiers of government; encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularly hold stakeholders’ consultative fora where the private sector can be briefed on activities of MDAS as well as deepen the existing reforms by including indices that will effectively enforce the reduction in the cost of doing business.
The MAN President also charged government to develop other easily verifiable platforms for the simplified VISA on arrival and submission process because what is currently available is just an e-mail address, which is not sufficient for effective performance evaluation.