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You Must Change Orientation Towards Businesses: Osinbajo Charges FG Regulatory Agencies

VP Osinbajo

By Laolu Akande

Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council receives critical report on cumbersome agro-export processes in Nigeria

There has to be a complete reorientation on the exercise of regulatory authority in the country in order for businesses and investors to thrive in Nigeria. 

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This was the conclusion of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, after receiving a report of an Ad-Hoc Committee of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, on Agro-Export and the presentation of a National Action Plan 7.0 today at the Presidential Villa. 

Prof. Osinbajo who presided over the first PEBEC meeting this year noted that there is a problem "if people who want to export cannot export due to what seems like too many regulations. 

"There are too many regulatory requirements. Too many regulations kill output. We have to take a second look at how we regulate. Over-regulation is killing businesses. It kills investments. An agric exporter can't export perishable produce after months," he wondered. 

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The Vice President lamented that there are also processes of product certifications that take so long on the regulatory queues in Nigeria, while businesses from outside the country with swift regulatory regimes will then bring the same products into the country to sell. 

"Because our certification processes are slow, others from outside nations (from neighbouring countries based on an ECOWAS agreement) with faster processes can bring their products and sell here, while our own businesses are still on the queues of regulatory agencies," the VP observed. 

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Earlier, the PEBEC Secretariat had presented a report of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council on Agro-Export where it was revealed among others that:  

*The exportation flow as regards payment and verification is extremely cumbersome;


* That exporters complained about the "imposition of the NAFEX rate on export proceeds, which limits their access to foreign exchange and their inability to utilise their export proceeds. (For instance, dollars domiciled in exporters accounts cannot be utilised for freight payment for export);

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*There were "multiple physical cargo examinations by Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies";

*There were also "multiple and sometimes overlapping documentation requirements" from government regulatory agencies. 

The Council, therefore, resolved to approve an Agro-Export Action Plan that will remedy the situation and also approved a 60-day National Action Plan 7.0 that continues the ease of doing business reforms of the Buhari administration. The Plan kicks off on February 7, 2022. 

Members of PEBEC at today's meeting included the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Police Affairs Minister, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi; Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, SAN; Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; Special Advisers: Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu - Economic Matters; Dr. Jumoke Oduwole - Ease of Doing Business & Council Secretary, Heads of several Federal Government Agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Ports Authority, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Shippers Council and representatives of the Private Sector.

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