The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday reiterated the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to create an enabling environment for investors and entrepreneurs.
The minister, who reemphasised the position during a visit to Ishk Tolaram Foundation in Lagos, said that the administration was working to achieve this through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). Mohammed said that PEBEC had implemented more than 150 reforms, moving Nigeria up 39 places on the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016.
He said the reforms were responsible for Nigeria being twice named as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world over the last three years – one of only two African countries to make this highly- prestigious list in 2019.
“To understand the significance of Nigeria moving up in the World Bank Doing Business Index, we have to recall that between 2007 and 2015, Nigeria lost 64 places in the World Bank ease of doing business ranking,” he said.
The minister said as a result of the reforms, the 2018 Subnational Doing Business report on Nigeria recorded unprecedented improvement.
According to him, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2018 Global Competitive Report, recognised Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world.
He said that the report highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness in the enabling business environment. Mohammed said the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020), signed by Buhari – Nigeria’s most significant business legislation in three decades – introduced at least 15 new provisions that promote ease of doing business and reduce regulatory hurdles.
The minister said PEBEC also collaborated with the National Assembly on the Secured Transaction in Movable Asset Act (STMA), 2017 and the Credit Reporting Act, 2017.
According to him, the Act provides a legal framework for collateralisation of moveable assets with the creation of the National Collateral Registry, while CRA 2017 enhances credit reporting in Nigeria.
“The creation of a National Collateral Registry (NCR) of movable assets by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the support of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), in May 2016 ensures that functional equivalents of collaterals can be registered.
“To date, more than N1 trillion assets have been uploaded on the Registry,” he said. Other reforms listed by the minister include visa on arrival for business people, reduction in the time it takes to register a company at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Through the Company Registration Portal (CRP) – from about two weeks to just a few days – and the introduction of the electronic filing and payment of federal taxes. Mohammed commended the Ishk Tolaram Foundation for its programmes in Nigeria, especially in the areas of healthcare as well as entrepreneurial and vocational training.
According to him, the artificial limbs provided free of charge have inspired hope for the beneficiaries.
The Programme Director of ISHK Foundation, Ms. Neha Mehra, who conducted the minister round the Lagos centre, said the foundation, which was being funded with 25 percent of the profit from the Tolaram Group, was set up as the next step in a 100- year history of philanthropy at Tolaram.
She said the Foundation partners with churches, mosques, hospitals and NGOs to identify and support people requiring artificial limbs free of charge.