Bills targeted at making doing business in Nigeria easier will be passed by the national assembly within 60 days, it was announced on Tuesday.
The expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBC) was chaired by the acting president, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and attended by Senate President Bukola Sakari and Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The World Bank currently ranks Nigeria poorly as 169th out of 190 countries on its ease of doing business index — which looks at criteria such as starting a business, getting construction permits, access to electricity, registration, access to credit and respect for contract, among others.
The meeting resolved that two bills are “critical” — the Credit Bureau Bill and Collateral Transactions Security Bill.
Osinbajo told the media after the four-hour meeting that Saraki and Dogara were present so that the two arms can work together.
“We have looked at three broad areas that we are trying to improve ease of doing business. There are: entry and exit of goods, entry and exit of persons into Nigeria and the whole general transparency and efficiency in government agencies and parastatals. Of course, the whole idea is to provide an environment for those who want to do business (both local and foreign) in Nigeria,” he said.
“A lot of work has already been done, there are pieces of legislation that we are also looking forward to seeing and we have been working with the National Assembly to ensure that these pieces of legislation are passed. Of course there are some improvements which we expect to see at our ports, airports, seaports, immigration, granting of visas and those kinds of things.
“We have set timelines for ourselves to ensure that we are not just speaking about these things without necessarily tying ourselves down to specific timelines. So we are looking forward to an improved business environment in the shortest possible time.”
Saraki said: “Some of the issues about addressing business environment are addressed to policies but there are some that need legislation and we have been talking about what is our own responsibility there. We have taken away today some of the bills that we need to address particularly looking at access to credit, credit bureau, transactions, a lot of SMEs that don’t have fix assets, we need to see how it can be addressed so that they can have access to credit. These are some of the bills we need to pass in order to improve the business environment.
“I think meeting and working together with the executive will make it much easier, this is a strong message for investors out there who are coming in and we have given ourselves timelines. We have been given 60 days for some specific bills to be passed and we hope and promised that we will do that on our own part. Is a good initiative and it will go along way to improve business environment.”