Let President Buhari Walk The Talk | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Let President Buhari Walk The Talk

Buhari, change campaign,Loan
Posted: Sep 5, 2016 at 7:31 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

While the international business community remained all ears at the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) held in far away Nairobi, Kenya, President Muhammadu Buhari seized the day on Sunday, August 29, 2016, to tell the whole world to the admiration of all, that he would ensure Nigeria emerged among the top 100 business friendly nations by 2019.

President Buhari said: “One of the most important priorities of our government is to create the right and enabling environment for business and investors in Nigeria.

“Our vision and objective is to make Nigeria one of the most attractive and the easiest places of doing business in the world. We believe government has a particular responsibility to create the right and attractive environment for business and economic activities to thrive.

“In furtherance of this vision, we have launched the Presidential Enabling Environment Council, and Inter-Ministerial Council to oversee the efforts of the government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle businesses and economic activities and thereby creating economic activities, the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria.”

Considering Nigeria’s position of 169 out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2016, released at the event and what it would take to rank the country among the first 100 countries within the short timeframe of three years, we applaud the President’s courage, bluntness and can-do spirit.

However, it is our considered view that the President features as the arrow-head in driving this vision to give verve to the process of realising his promise, given that 2019 is just two short years ahead.  We also make bold to draw the attention of the Councils already constituted by the President to achieve this overarching vision that they need to have a very firm grip of what Doing Business continues to cover, at least, in the perception of the World Bank. Some of the critical issues include procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital to start a business, procedures, time and cost to complete all formalities to build a warehouse, procedures, time and cost to get connected to the electrical grid, and procedures, time and cost to transfer a property.  We add that members of the Councils need to clearly understand what difference movable collateral laws and credit information systems, minority shareholders’ rights in related-party transactions and in corporate governance, payments, time and total tax rate for a firm to comply with all tax regulations, time and cost to resolve a commercial dispute, and time, cost, outcome and recovery rate for a commercial insolvency and strength of the legal framework for insolvency could make in attracting genuine and committed investors.

Beyond these, it must be fully accommodated that this year’s Doing Business Report has added fresh dimension to what used to be, implying that the Councils would have more work to do if they must succeed. What this year’s report adds and changes include quality of building regulation and its implementation, reliability of electricity supply, transparency of tariffs and price of electricity, quality of the land administration system, quality of judicial processes , and time and cost to export the product of comparative advantage and import.

We, however, make a strong case as much as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) remain important in the matrix of the country’s economic development that issues affecting local investors be given considerable strategic focus for the confidence reposed in their country.

We have long nurtured the idea of getting things done right in line with globally accepted standards but have also been short on implementation. This underpins our position that all hands remain on deck to make the best of this renewed commitment to ensure the President ends strong on this.