The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) says a collaborative interface with government’s regulatory agencies and entrepreneurs on regulatory processes will improve Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) operations.
Mr Soji Apampa, Co-founder, Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), spoke at the Public Private Dialogue/Survey Launch hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) on Thursday in Lagos.
Apampa said a survey was done on 501 businesses comprises 376, 76 and 49 for Lagos, Abia and Kano respectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Dialogue was entitled: ” Transactional Accountability, Process Consistency, and Operational Transparency of the National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC)”.
Apampa said the survey’s key findings revealed that 65 per cent of respondents experienced cost differentials in cost learnt and actual cost paid with 82 as percentile value for informal and non receipted payments.
He said that respondents listed reasons for non receipted payments to include ‘thank you’, fast track process, reduce liability, reduce sanctions, and for correct interpretation of regulations.
Apampa, however, revealed that 67 per cent of MSMEs responded satisfactorily to the services rendered by the agency.
He said: “57 per cent of MSMEs consider corruption in dealing with regulatory officials as major constraint to business effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness.
“MSMEs account for 96 per cent of businesses, generated 75 per cent of national employment and contributed 47 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
“Many companies believe that self regulation is the best, but you need strong motivating force, outcomes and benchmarks.
“On government’s part, regulatory bodies believe they should be doing the regulatory affairs.
“Stakeholders should have a role too, but it’s not enough; so, this calls for collaborative efforts by all parties to support MSME survival and growth,” he said.
Responding, Mrs Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, NAFDAC, urged entrepreneurs to take responsibility of all transactions by making it a policy to get receipts to eliminate bribes and other corruption practices.
Adeyeye, represented by Prof. Samson Adebayo, a Director with the agency, said the agency had abolished the use of consultants or agents inclusive of its staff to further reduce human interface and tackle corruption.
The NAFDAC director-general said reports of the survey detailed that the agency had cascaded goals into short, middle and long term goals to improve its operations and enhance ease of doing business for MSMEs.
“Staff reorientation is part of the short term goals and the idea is to ensure that every staff of the agency is reminded of the implications of every action.
“Management has also set up a task force charged with the possibility of carrying out their activities without interference of any staff.
“We also encourage the use of our online platform to carry out all transactions to reduce human interface and corrupt practices,” he said.
Also, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President LCCI, said that the task of strengthening NAFDAC’s regulatory activities was a collective responsibility.
This, Mabogunje said, was to champion courses that promote fairness, transparency, efficiency and equity in the operational framework of the regulatory agencies.
“We acknowledge the efforts by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in the implementation of business enabling initiatives such as the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and introduction of Executive Order 001.
“We are of firm belief that NAFDAC, as a regulatory agency that interacts with all categories of businesses in Nigeria, contributed significantly to the process leading to the aforementioned milestone.
“Under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC has carried out a lot of reforms of its processes. However, a lot of improvement are still required to better NAFDAC’s processes and operations.
“Everyone, including business membership organisations, chambers of commerce, trade associations, other private sector stakeholders, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), sub-nationals and Federal Government have significant roles to play.
“As key stakeholders, all hands must be on deck to have this course actualised,” he said.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye