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‘People profiteering from chaos frustrating EODB reforms’

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Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf; Head of Chancery High Commission of India in Lagos, Mr. Rachit Rawat; President, LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole and Deputy President, LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole during a Roundtable on the Ease of Doing Business organised by LCCI in Lagos yesterday.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has stated that the lack of reform-minded individuals are frustrating the efforts of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) mandate of the Federal Government.

The Director-General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, added that lots of people were benefiting from the status quo, calling on the private sector operators to escalate issues confronting the EODB mandate.

He added that private sector players must speak up loud enough as some of the issues being faced by the sector is not filtered all the way up to the Federal Government.

Meanwhile the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, at a round-table on ease of doing business organised by LCCI, said the Federal Government is ready to support State Governments in the development of their respective State Reform Action Plans.

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She added that the specific findings of the sub-national Baseline Survey undertaken by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) survey report for each State would be reflected in the rigorous implementation road maps to deliver tangible impact for enhanced productivity of the Nigerian economy.

According to her, the move would provide an important push, as the present administration is supporting Nigerian businesses to gain more competitiveness momentum, for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and ahead of the next World Bank subnational report on Nigeria to be released in 2022.

She reassured that the PEBEC would continue to champion predictable and consistent policies towards positioning the government as a partner for business and investment, not as a competitor or inhibitor of economic growth.

“Our ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reform efforts will continue to demonstrate in clear terms our readiness to support your ambitions with all the political will available,” she said.

She noted that the report provides a baseline assessment of the business climate conditions in the States, as perceived by the private sector.

In her words, “It is expected that the next edition of the survey will reflect the improvements brought about by reforms undertaken by State Governments.”

Earlier, the president, LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, said going by the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business Ranking, Nigeria moved fifteen spots upward to 131st position, from 146th position in the earlier ranking, stressing that the improvement reflects the efforts by the Federal Government through the PEBEC towards eliminating constraints and bottlenecks to doing business in the country, as well as the implementation of some regulatory reforms.

“We commend the PEBEC Secretariat for this accomplishment. We appreciate that matters relating to the business environment is a work in progress. Meanwhile, businesses and investors are still grappling with several structural, policy and regulatory challenges, which have kept the cost of doing business elevated,” she said.

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The LCCI boss stated that presently, access to domestic and international financing opportunities particularly among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is still limited.

She added that despite the accommodative policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria, just a few SMEs benefited from the low-interest rate regime in the previous year.

She pointed out that the Ease of doing business is a key consideration for local and international investments, noting that evidence has shown a strong correlation between ease of doing business and private investment flows.

“It would be almost impossible to attract and retain private investments without an enabling environment. No private enterprise can scale, expand, and create new job opportunities if the environment is not investment-friendly.

“A supportive and a conducive environment is needed to accelerate the pace of economic recovery, regain investor confidence, attract fresh investments and generate employment opportunities. As stakeholders in the Nigerian business community, this event could not have come at a better time than now,” she said.

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