‘Business Facilitation Act will aid transparency’
Stakeholders have said the newly signed Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Act (BFA) allows for accountability and transparency for government agencies and businesses operations.
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Adeoye Adefulu, said the Act, which was signed into law on February 14, 2023, is a significant milestone in developing the Nigerian business environment as it seeks to create a more conducive and attractive condition for local and foreign investors by incorporating the key principles of Executive Order 001 and amending important legislations.
He said this at the NBA-SBL Business Facilitation Act Forum (BFA 2022) in Lagos.
He desired that the Act become a vehicle to periodically amend legislation that affects the business environment.
According to Adefulu, the Act was passed due to the collaboration of NBA-SBL, and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“As lawyers and business professionals, we have a critical role to play in ensuring that our clients and businesses use the Act and are well versed with its provisions so we can contribute to the growth and development of the economy, create new jobs and enhance the quality of life of all Nigerians,” he said.
Special Adviser to the president on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, said PEBEC is an attestation that collaboration works as federal, state and local government, judiciary and private sector came together to produce the BFA.
She added that over 40 law firms participated pro bono in putting the Act together.
According to Oduwole, Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) need a working system, so, PEBEC mandate focuses on delivering a climate for MSMEs where it is easier for them to start and grow their businesses as over 90 per cent of jobs in the country are created by them.
“If we encourage MSMEs to grow and scale, we are taking care of poverty and by extension insecurity,” she added
Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo, Toyin Bashir, said the Act was created to address transparency and efficiency because after creating reforms, it would be implemented by civil servants.
She said the Act encouraged government organisations to have their websites and input information relevant to the people they serve.
“So, this birthed the idea of executive order. In the law, we have provisions touching on transparency. Processes, documentation and timeliness are expected to be on the website.
“Finally, we have the government having a legal binding agreement with the public, essentially detailing with those processes, documentation and timeliness again, and we are holding them accountable to the information published,” she stated.
Bashir said the need for collaboration was also discussed, where separate agencies could work together to make processes efficient.
Partner, Jackson, Etti & Edu, Folasade Olusanya, explained that the Act made amendments to some Acts such as, Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), Export Prohibition, Investment and Securities, Industrial Inspectorate, Patent and Design, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions), Nigeria Export Promotion Council, National Housing Fund, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Acts, among others.