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Ease Of Doing Business: FG Moves To Improve Ranking

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The Federal Government says all tiers of government are now being proactive to improve the country’s 2018 ranking on the Ease of Doing Business.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Aminu Bisalla, said this in Abuja recently, at a meeting with the commissioners for trade and commerce from the states.
“All arm of government are now involved to ensure that the country improves in its ranking of ease of doing business.
“As part of effort aimed at facilitating the ease of doing business in Nigeria, registration is now very easy; small businesses can now establish without facing any difficult situation.
“More states have lands that are accessible,  business owners can use the land to  get loan and I am very optimistic that the next ranking will see Nigeria progress tremendously.
“A lot is being done to reposition the economy in areas where we have comparative advantage.
“We have realised that the engine of growth is the private sector  and the only way to succeed in vitalising the economy is to make it very easy for businesses to flourish,” Bisalla said.
In July 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with a mandate to remove bureaucratic and regulatory constraints to doing business in Nigeria. The Council is chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The council released three main pillars of the next phase of interventions and reform to improve its image on ease of doing business report by the World Bank in 2018.
The pillars comprises Deepening Existing Reforms, Sub-national Reforms and Trading within Nigeria.
Nigeria’s ranking in the latest report by the World Bank for 2017 improved marginally from 170 to 169 out of the 190 countries
Nigeria’s overall global ranking improved by 44.63 per cent points average, against 44.02 per cent age points, or 0.61 per cent in 2016.
Bisalla said that in the past, the major challenge for small business owners was multiple taxation which made it difficult for small businesses to develop.
According to him, with the effort made so far by the government, business can now flourish and with that, there will be more employment in the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, in a paper, said there were compelling imperatives for sub-national reforms at the states level.
The paper is tilted: “Reforming Nigeria at the sub-national level: Bringing Enabling Environment Reforms to all Nigerians”.
Oduwole, who is the Secretary to the council, said that the reforms were in the best interest of each state to support economic growth and development.
She said that reform progress would serve as a tool for investors to measure viability of proposed investment in a state, adding that some states were already implementing the reforms.
Oduwole said a lot could be achieved with limited resources by applying best practices like efficiency, transparency, performance management and key performance indicators.
“Sub-national rankings are important as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) make up to 90 per cent of business in Nigeria.
“The local business plays a vital role in ability of MSMEs to thrive, a friendly business environment MSMEs to move from the informal to the formal sector,” she said.
Oduwole said that drastic and fast-paced business reforms must be conducted simultaneously to improve the business environment and attract foreign investors.
She said that reforms must be adopted within the next 12 months to reflect in the 2018 ease of doing business report.
According to her, going forward, the council is focusing on three key areas which are deepening existing sub-national and additional reforms.
Ms Cemile Hacibeyoglu, from the World Bank Group, said successful reforms should include all relevant agencies and the private sector.
Hacibeyoglu  said the sub-national  doing business studies  were aimed to promote competition and motivate regulatory reforms, to improve the business environment and achieve convergence among locations towards the best regulatory practices.

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Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency

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The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.

By: Corlins Walter

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Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues

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The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.

By: Corlins Walter

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