‘Why government must sustain effort on ease of doing business’
As Nigeria gears up to move out of recession, and attract substantial local and foreign investments, investors have been advised to not only key into the change agenda of the Federal Government but also fulfill all obligations in adhering to extant regulations and requisite compliance in their business operations.
Speaking at an interactive Business Breakfast Meeting in Lagos, with focus on the business environment, the National Senior Partner, KPMG Nigeria, Kunle Elebute, said: “the task of creating ease of doing business environment in Nigeria goes beyond rhetoric. Rather, it should begin to identify ways that businesses can be compliant with regulations in the country.”
The forum, which was well attended by captains of industries, business executive and other stakeholders, agreed that a stable and efficient regulatory framework is essential for investments, growth and safeguards the economy from systemic failure.
The event tagged, “Regulatory Compliance and Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: Can it get better?” was organised by the Franco-Nigerian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), in conjunction with KPMG.
According to Elebute, “most of KPMG’s activities are geared toward influencing regulatory changes and making sure that Nigeria becomes a much more conducive environment for doing business. This is the basis for partnering with FNCCI in holding the very important business meeting and providing a very viable platform for the private sector of Nigeria and France, to exchange ideas and enhance their economic relationship.”
However, there were worries about how many analysts have described the Nigeria’s regulatory environment as ‘regulatory terrorism’, which is capable of stifling businesses and discouraging Direct Foreign Investments (DFI).
A World Bank 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report, ranked Nigeria 169th out of 193 countries where parameters such as Starting a Business; Dealing With Construction Permit; Getting Electricity; Registering Property; Access to Licenses and Permits; Getting Credit; Paying Taxes; Trading Across Borders; and many others were considered.
A panelist and Partner Head, Deal Advisory Services at KPMG Nigeria, Ajibola Olomola, said: “the business clime in Nigeria is changing, as there has been concerted effort in a sense to restructure, reposition and move away from the initially assumed culture of impunity, which seemed to have pervaded the entire country in the past.”
However, he believed “there is indeed a glimmer of hope as the Federal Government through the Presidential Enabling Business Council is focusing on putting the Nigerian regulatory environment on course. The work of the council is a fore-runner to the recently signed Executive Orders on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria by the Acting President.”
Olomola observed that although the Nigerian financial system has suffered shocks and cyclical distortions, it is robust enough to grant a modicum of access to credit, which is the lifeline of business.
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