There’s no doubting the fact that President Buhari’s administration is on record as being the first to consciously determine to address Nigeria’s perennially low ranking in global ease of doing business (EDB) and competitive ratings. This was also acknowledging the inevitability of taking composite reform actions to significantly improve Nigeria’s EDB rankings in the global business world.
In pursuance of the declared goal to improve Nigeria’s EDB ratings, President Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in July 2016 to make recommendations on institutional reforms to promote Nigeria’s investment attractiveness.
In February 2017, PEBEC approved a 60-Day National Action Plan “with clear deliverables and timelines for federal government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for implementing each line item in the Plan, culminating in the then Acting President issuing three Executive Orders (EOs) for immediate and effective actions targeting public service improvements to touch every sphere of Nigeria’s economy.
The Executive Orders target the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment with its attendant implications on businesses and investments in Nigeria.
Far away across the Atlantic, former USA’s President, Donald Trump in May 2017 signed 36 EOs since his assumption of office in January, 2017.
On the legality or otherwise of the EOs, section 315(2) 1999 Constitution (as amended) unambiguously provides that “the appropriate authority (President or Governor) may at any time by order make such modification in the text of any existing law as the appropriate authority considers necessary or expedient to bring that law into conformity with the provisions of this Constitution.”
Since the President is the Chief Executive of the Federation, it behoves him to exercise functions of his office to drive policy direction, especially to give full effect to laws already in place, or their amendments, to ensure fulfilment of electoral promises. As mentioned previously, it is desirable that the President from time to time issues Executive Orders, to steer economic policies which promote investments in Nigeria.
Since the EO is particularly focused on improving Nigeria’s EDB through transparent and efficient service delivery by various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to promote transparency in their dealings, the EO makes it mandatory for them to make public all the requirements for licence, permits, waivers, approvals and tax related information.
To further actualise its commitment to ensure ease of doing business in the country as a way of attracting domestic and foreign investors into the country’s economy, government in its wisdom in the area of trade facilitation recently crashed Ship Berthing Cost From $150,000 to $20,000
Supported by a group, Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) in its collaborative efforts with Federal Government agencies has resulted in a drastic reduction in the cost of birthing ships in Nigerian ports.
A delegation of CBi led by Olusoji Apampa during a courtesy call on Vice President Yemi-Osinbajo recently stated that the government agencies that collaborated to eliminate unreceipted extortions were the Shippers Council, ICPC, DSS and the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Technical Unit on Governance & Anti-Corruption Reforms, TUGAR alongside CBi through the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, MACN.
This outstanding feat has earned international praise and won the first ever “Outstanding Achievement in Collective Action Award” of the Switzerland-based Basel Institute on Governance.
According to Apampa, the success recorded has now attracted international reviews as countries such as Egypt, Ukraine and India were planning to adopt the “Nigerian miracle” model to produce similar gains in their ports’ operations. The international award recognised the work of the Nigerian MACN, which created a real time-based Help Desk to resolve complaints and concerns of shipping companies as soon as they berth at the ports.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described the drastic reduction in the cost of berthing ships in Nigerian ports from $150,000 to $20,000 as another laudable feat of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
According to the group, this has attracted international reviews and countries such as Egypt, Ukraine and India are now taking a cue from the Nigeria model to produce similar gains in their ports’ operations.
BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, BMO commended government for the reductio, noting that it is a reflection of the government’s conscious effort to enable ease of doing business and trade, making investment flows into the country seamless.
According to BMO, “aside the facts that the reduction will lead to increased trade at all Nigerian ports and make them more competitive compared to our neighboring ports, it is also going to, by implication, reflect on our inflation rate whether at the level of direct consumption or manufacturing because the bulk of our raw materials come from abroad.”
In joining well meaning Nigerians to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari for this “insight and for creating momentum for international trade”, BMO passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of President Buhari in the last seven years.
It is very heart warming seeing the country grow from strength to strength as her ease of doing business strategy is paying off and the country now stands to be the beautiful bride of foreign direct investments (FDI).
EMEKA ANYAOKU SYREET, ABUJA