Public-Private Partnership as panacea to road development
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation is one of the cardinal goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations (UN) has also underlined the importance of delivering quality infrastructure by stakeholders for enduring development in that regard.
Analysts note that the backbone for the development of any nation includes its physical infrastructure, comprising roads and bridges, power generation plants, power transmission and distribution networks and water, among others.
They note that providing infrastructure projects requires huge capital and tend to exert a strain on financing such projects by governments.
According to them, it will not be out of place for governments with limited resources to lookout for alternative financial, managerial and technical resources to deliver essential public infrastructure via partnership.
The Federal Government has, therefore, proposed a public-partnership partnership to assist it in tackling the odds against the delivery of quality infrastructure.
The Senate Committee on Works Chairman Adamu Aliero says the committee, as part of its statutory responsibility to citizens, recently embarked on oversight to ascertain the delay in completion of some of the roads that were awarded to contractors by the Federal Government.
Some of the roads listed for inspection by the committee include the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Sagamu-Ikorodu road and Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road, among others.
For the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway, the contract was awarded on Dec. 20, 2017 to Julius Berger Plc. at a contract sum of N155.48 billion and has three sections — Zuba-Kaduna, Kaduna-Zaria and Zaria-Kano road.
Aliero who led the committee members on inspection of the road said that work began on Zuba-Kaduna, Kaduna-Zaria and Zaria-Kano road on May 21, 2018 and it is to be completed on May 21, 2021.
“We are not happy with the slow pace of work. The work is done at snail speed, Nigerians are worried as the road cut across three geopolitical zones of North-Central, North-West and North -East.
“It is a very important road in terms of the economic gains of the zones; the delay is unacceptable; there is no enough mobilisation on the part of the contractor,’’ he observed.
He called for public-private partnership to assist government in provision of roads as critical infrastructure.
“Going by what is happening now in the budget, there is no way the Federal Government can fund well more than 522 roads,’’ he said.
Aliero said that the Senate would amend laws to make Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives attractive to boost investments in roads and other infrastructure to bridge infrastructure deficit.
The senator also called on private investors to key into the tax credit scheme to ensure quality road delivery to improve the economy.
While inspecting the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Aliero said that the Federal Government was concerned about attracting investments to the country.
Aliero said that PPP was an alternative means of funding road infrastructure which business owners should adopt for the good of the nation.
“Already PPP is on the top agenda of the 9th Senate; and indeed the entire National Assembly, we will encourage the private sector to go into construction of infrastructure, not only roads but also railways and power,’’ he said.
He commended the tax credit scheme adopted by the Dangote Group for the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project and advised other businessmen to key into it.
“If this is done, it will facilitate the rehabilitation or reconstruction of the road sector in the country instead of relying on the annual budgeting of rehabilitating or constructing.
“The road will be built by the private sector and they can recover their money through payment of taxes with an arrangement with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)’’, he said.
He commended the quality of reconstruction and rehabilitation work and the technology being used on the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway to make it durable.
He also expressed satisfaction at the adequate mobilisation of equipment and personnel on various sections to deliver the project on schedule.
“This is the way to go because this is a road linking two major sea ports in the country; Tincan Island and Apapa port and this is where haulage of heavy goods is being ferried to different parts of the country apart from Lagos.
“Most of the imports from the north pass here before they eventually go to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“It is a major road which should be constructed very well and we are very pleased with what we have seen.
The progress of work is good and we have no doubt that if the contractor maintains the pace, the project will be completed and delivered on time,’’ Aliero said.
Similarly, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, noted that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road was a very important road that was at the heart of Nigeria and it had deteriorated to the point that something had to be done.
el-Rufai, however, noted that with an annual budget of N169 billion for federal highways, it was clear that alternative sources of funding must be found.
The fourth mainland bridge is supposed to be like a ring road, it is supposed to be a 37- kilometre bridge and super highway.
“We have got expression of interest by both local and international companies. They are now at various levels of procurement,’’ he said.
Also, Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun said that public-private partnership was fundamental to the economic growth of the country.
“The Lagos State governor and I observe that these roads are common to both of us and affecting the economy of both states and the quality of life of our people.
“What we should do is how to encourage a public-private sector partner to come and partner and let us tell the Federal Government to transfer some of the south- west roads.
“We requested that these roads, Sagamu-Ikorodu and Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta be transferred to us because they are commercial roads and we will privatise them and we will not revert to the Federal Government for any refund,’’ he said.
However, stakeholders are optimistic that before the end of 2030 when the SDGs are supposed to be achieved, critical infrastructure such as road development would also be realised.
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared N606.196 billion to the three tiers of government for the month of April.
Mr Hassan Dodo, Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Dodo said the meeting, which held by virtual, was chaired by Dr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
He said the amount shared included Value Added Tax (VAT), Exchange Gain, Solid Mineral Revenue, Excess Bank Charges and Excess Oil Revenue.
He explained that the Federal Government received N169.831 billion, the states got N86.140 billion while the local government councils had N66.411 billion and the oil producing states received N32.895 billion as 13 per cent derivation.
The director, however, disclosed that the cost of collection of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Refund and Allocation to North East Development Commission and Transfer to Excess Oil Revenue was N15.134 billion.
“The Gross Revenue available from the VAT for April 2020 was N94.495 billion as against the N120.268 billion distributed in the preceding month of March, resulting in a decrease of N25.772 billion.
“The distribution is as follows; Federal Government got N13.182 billion, the States received N43.941 billion, Local Government Councils took N30.758 billon.
“The distributed Statutory Revenue of N370.411billion received for the month was lower than the N597.676 billion received for the previous month by N227.265 billion,” he stated.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who expressed the concern in a statement on Friday in Lagos, said that it would impose additional pressure on businesses.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the FIRS recently issued a circular calling on corporate organisations to commence payment of their annual returns, earlier than their due dates, apart from their normal monthly obligations.
The circular was dated April 22, 2020, entitled: “Update on Palliative Measures to Cushion Effect of COVID-19 on Taxpayers,” .
The Federal tax collector said that this appeal “has become necessary in order to ease some of the cash flow gaps being experienced by governments at this critical time”.
Responding, Olawale described the pronouncement as ‘ill-timed’, saying it was against a situation when companies were virtually closed due to the lockdown occasioned by the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“FIRS has not taken into consideration the holistic nature of industries operating within the global context, the constraints imposed by COVID-19, and its attendant collateral damages on businesses and economies.
“This is a time when governments globally are finding ways to support businesses to ease their burdens, and our country should not be an exception.
“It is noteworthy that corporate organisations know when to file their annual returns according to the relevant tax laws.
“They should only be reminded, and not be harassed by such circular, not even minding the current predicament that endangers livelihoods and businesses, wherein sectors were clamouring for further palliatives to support sustainability of businesses,” he said.
The NECA director-general also faulted the service’s assumption that some companies were experiencing a boom during this time of economic lockdown.
According to him, all the sectors of the economy have felt the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown and some companies are at the verge of closing shop.
“The FIRS is not well informed or aware of the practicality in the private sector, as there are zero operations for businesses, which has to obey the lockdown directives of the Federal Government.
“Businesses in Lagos State have experienced about five weeks lockdown as directed by both Federal and State Governments.
“There were zero operations in several sectors, such as the Iron, Metal and Steel, Hospitality, Aviation, Tourism, Transportation, among others.
“For example, supermarkets operated at 30 per cent capacity, which created problems for the supply chain of the organisation.
“Sales dropped by 70 per cent due to lack of supplies, few hours of working and controlled social distancing,” he said.
Olawale therefore, urged governments to emulate its counterpart in other countries, and put in place more palliative measures to cushion the effects of the pandemic on corporate Nigeria, rather than putting more pressure on them.
“The FIRS will do well to focus on supporting the real sector to be sustainable into the post Covid-19 era.
“This will prevent loss of jobs, which would in turn, contribute toward economic growth through payment of appropriate taxes,” he said.
Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has waved the Late Returns Penalty (LRP) for taxpayers.
The FIRS made this known in a statement issued by Mr Abdullahi Ismaila, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the service in Abuja on Monday.
Ismaila explained that such taxpayers should have supporting documents which could also be emailed to the dedicated email addresses or be submitted later to the tax offices by those who were not able to use the email facility.
The director said this was part of measures decided by the management in its virtual meeting held On March 31
following the Federal Government’s lockdown of FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States on 29th March.
He said another measure was extension of remittance of Value Added Tax (VAT) on or before 21st of every month.
According to him, taxpayers facing challenges in sourcing for Foreign Exchange to offset their liabilities had been given the option of paying in Naira at the prevailing Investors & Exporters (I & E) window rate on the day of payment.
“The period to file Personal Income Tax (PIT) returns for Foreign Affairs, Non Residents, Military and Police has been extended to the June 30 while Field Audit, Investigations and Monitoring visits have been suspended till further notice.
“Throughout the days and months ahead, we want to reassure you that supporting Nigeria’s diverse and dynamic businesses through this uncertain time is our topmost priority.
“The response to the current situation is evolving rapidly, with advice and guidance changing daily. And this is why FIRS has setup a number of measures to provide support to Taxpayers in managing their tax obligations as they are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Taxpayers can now take advantage of our simple, user-friendly and robust e-Filing process to submit their documents online instead of visiting the tax offices. Our dedicated email addresses for each of the offices are available on our website: www.firs.gov.ng” he stated.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it has collected N1.123 trillion revenue in the First Quarter (Q1) of 2020.
The FIRS made this known in a statement issued by Mr Abdullahi Ismaila, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the service in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the service recorded seven per cent increase in its collection target for the first quarter of 2020 in spite the global economic challenge owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
Ismaila stated that there was unprecedented increment in the first quarter 2020 when compared to the same period in the last fiscal year, 2019’s first quarter.
“A comparative analysis of the two periods shows that the FIRS collected N1.123 trillion in the first quarter of 2020, N1.046 trillion for the first quarter in 2019.
“A massive 568 per cent increase in Capital Gains Tax from N96.408 million in Q1 2019 to N643.935 million in Q1 2020 which gave the Service’s revenue its biggest lift.
“No doubt as a direct result of blockage of leaks in that revenue flow by the wide-ranging reforms inaugurated at the FIRS by its newly appointed Executive Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami, immediately he assumed office in December 2019,” he said.
He noted that similarly, the service recorded 522 per cent increase in collection from the NITDEF to bag N690.532 million in Q1 2020, compared to N111.037 million in Q1 2019.
The director recalled that since he took the mantle of leadership at the FIRS, Nami has instituted a regime of policy reforms anchored on deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to block tax leakages and motivated members of staff by restoring a number of their statutory roles hitherto outsourced to private consultants.
“Also within the period under review, Gas Income Tax increased by 286 per cent in Q1 2020, which amounted to N11.491 billion compared to N2.9 billion raked in in Q12020.
“Similarly, Company Income Tax (CIT) collected in Q1 2020 jumped by 135 per cent to N95.733 billion corresponding figure of N40.696 billion recorded in Q1 2019.
“Stamp Duty collection in Q1 2020 is N4.602 billion, which represents 36 per cent increase to the Q1 2019 figure of N3.386 billion
“In the education sector, the FIRS recorded 81 per cent increase in its collection of Education Tax, which is N13.102 billion in Q1 2020 compared to N7.229 billion in Q1 2019.
“Both Nigeria Customs Service and Non-Import VAT also increased by 11 per cent in Q1 2020 N63.296 billion and N261.245 billion, respectively, from the Q1 2019 figures of N57.008 billion and N236.030 billion in that order”.
He added that moving forward the on-going reforms and deployment of more ICT platforms at the FIRS would take its root in Q2, while the service expected a brighter outlook in revenue collections.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
COVID-19: FIRS boss urges personnel to brace up for more revenue generation: The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged hisvpersonnel to brace up to generate appreciable revenue especially now that other revenue sources have been affected by COVID-19 outbreak.
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami gave the charge at a retreat organised for its tax operations group in Abuja on Monday.
He urged the staff to take up the challenge and justify the confidence the country had reposed in them, especially at this critical time when virtually all the other sources of revenue for Government were being challenged by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Muhammad explained that the downward slide in the price of oil at the International Market for as low as 30 dollars per barrel against 57 dollars benchmark used for the budget was worrisome.
“This gap has to be bridged somehow, and you are that bridge. Therefore, at the end of this retreat, I expect you to go back to your respective stations with the work plans and a renewed determination to face this challenge squarely.
“I assure you very strongly that this administration will always support you all the way. I want you to also note that this administration is mindful of your welfare as well as conscious of your need for necessary tools and facilities to enhance your work.
“We shall not relent in providing the right environment for you to succeed. That is why since I came on board, I have taken the following decisions to facilitate your delivery on the job.
“We reverted certain authorisation domiciled at Headquarters to you for instance, utilisation of credit notes, Operational letters, issuance of TCCs to mention a few.
“Examination of account has also been restored as well as proper segmentation in tax Administration consistent with global best practices was reinstated
“When the Federal Government set the N8.5 trillion target, it must have realised that we are equal to the task. As hub of the operations of the service, you are therefore, expected to deliver the bulk of the Target while the other groups support you.”
Nami said that the retreat essentially provided the opportunity to inform the group the goals and objectives for the year which were earlier agreed upon at the Corporate Retreat of the Service.
Edited By: Ese E. Ekama
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said on Saturday that none of its staff tested positive to coronavirus following rumour being peddled.
Mr, Abdullahi Ismaila, Director, Communications and Liaison Department, said this in a statement obtained by Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.
He said that the rumour being peddled that one of the FIRS staff was tested positive to COVID-19 was false and unfounded.
“The attention of the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami and the Management of the Service, have been drawn to the fake news making the rounds on Social Media that a member of staff at the FIRS has tested positive to COVID-19.
“The Service hereby states unequivocally that no member of staff at the FIRS has been tested positive to COVID-19 as being peddled on Social Media.
“The Service can confirm that a member of staff who went to pick his wife from the airport following her return from a trip abroad is currently and voluntarily observing the Federal Government advisory self-isolation alongside his spouse at the couple’s home since on Monday.
“Both husband and wife have not visited any FIRS offices or events since the wife retuned to Nigeria last Sunday. More importantly, both husband and wife have only been in self-isolation for five days and have not tested positive to Covid-19” he explained.
The director stated that before now, all FIRS offices had taken necessary precautions to protect both Staff and the service’s esteemed taxpayers from Covid-19.
Such safety measures, he said, include social distancing, temperature testing, disabling of the biometric sign in, and provision of hand sanitizers for staff and visitors to offices nationwide as advised by the Federal Ministry of Health.
He, however, advised members of the public to discountenance the claim that an FIRS official had been tested positive to Covid-19, adding that it was nothing but a fake news.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has unveiled a new Electronic and Automated platform for taxpayers to file transfer pricing declaration and disclosures with a view to block leakage in tax collection in the country.
The FIRS made this known in a statement issued by Mr Abdullahi Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department in the service in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ismaila said while unveiling the electronic solution platform in Lagos before bank executives and other stakeholders in the tax sector, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami said this was necessary because of the stamp duty being collected by banks across the country.
Nami explained that the step was due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which had crippled the global economic system with dire consequences for fiscal planning by all countries of the world.
He stated that the Service was deploying the automated platforms to ensure 100 per cent compliance and tasked the banks to get fully prepared for the adoption of the new compliance programme.
“The need for total compliance and aggressive revenue drive is imperative now in view of the recent crash of oil price from 50 dollars to 29 dollars which will definitely affect our collection from the Petroleum Profit Tax.
“Similarly, the outbreak of the COVID-19 has occasioned a global economic meltdown with serious consequences to our economy.
”You will recall that recently about 50 Nigerian oil bearing trucks could not discharge crude oil to buyers because of this COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has the combined effect of reducing government revenue target and, subsequently, the provision of infrastructures and social amenities.
“We earnestly need to shore up against the looming economic meltdown. It is on this note that I solicit your cooperation and understanding in the drive to use automation to rev up our revenue so that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will be able to deliver on its mandate” he explained.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI) said the country earned N69.47 billion from the Solid Mineral sector in 2018.
NEITI disclosed this in its latest audit report of the solid minerals sector released on Sunday in Abuja, indicating that the figure was the highest since NEITI commenced reconciliation of payments in the sector.
It noted that the figure showed an increase of N16.71 billion representing 31.67 per cent over the 2017 revenue of N52.76 billion.
“The earnings N69.47 billion also accounted for 16.69 per cent of the total revenues N416.3billion that accrued to the sector from 2007 to 2018,’’ it said.
The audit report reconciled companies’ payments and government’s receipts from the sector in 2018 as well as tracked production volumes and trends of revenues from the sector to the federation account from 2007 to 2018.
A breakdown of the receipts showed that taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) accounted for N65.69 billion 94.56 per cent of the total while fees and royalties paid to the Mines Inspectorate Department (MID) and Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) accounted for N2.21 billion 3.18 per cent and N1.57 billion 2.26 per cent, respectively.
It revealed that Nigeria had published eight cycles of solid minerals audit reports since it signed up to the NEITI, adding that the sector has contributed N416.32billion in revenues to the federation in 12 years.
It noted that over half of this figure or N279.0 billion was earned between 2015 and 2018. This, it said showed that there had been a remarkable increase in revenues accruing to the Federation from the solid minerals sector over the years.
The report further highlighted that the sector had over the years, also witnessed fluctuations in revenue earnings.
It said that in 2015, N64.46 billion accrued to the federation, while in 2016, the earnings dipped to N43.22 billion.
It will be recalled that 2016 was also the year that the Nigerian economy slid into recession.
The report also disclosed that the main sources of revenue flows from solid minerals remains various categories of taxes, royalty, permits, annual services and sub-national payments.
It also stated that sub-national payments and other taxes accounted for N1.54 billion representing about 2.23 per cent of total government revenue from the sector.
On production, the NEITI 2018 Report disclosed that 46.68 million metric tons of minerals valued at N47.87 billion were produced in the country during the period.
It noted that the production data was based on minerals either used or sold during the year.
A breakdown of the production volumes showed that limestone and granite accounted for about 80 per cent of the total minerals produced. Limestone alone contributed 54.85 per cent while granite accounted for 23.88 per cent of minerals mined.
On state-by-state production; the report disclosed that in 2018, most of the mining activities in the country took place in Ogun State.
“The state accounted for 12.66 million metric tons 27.13 per cent of the total volume produced during the period under review.
“Ogun State was followed by Kogi and Benue states, each accounting for 22.88 and 10.10 per cent respectively. However, on the bottom of the table are states like Enugu and Borno states which contributed 0.02 and 0.001 per cent respectively.
The report also revealed that Dangote Cement Plc and Larfarge Africa Plc dominated activities in minerals produced by companies.
The two companies, it added contributed 57.22 per cent of the total minerals produced in 2018, while Dangote cement accounted for 46.38 per cent, Larfarge Africa was responsible for 10.84 per cent.
The report disclosed that the sector’s contribution to employment in 2018 was 9, 873, with more Nigerian nationals employed by the sector.
In relation to gender, 96.53 per cent of jobs were occupied by men, while women took 3.47 per cent.
“Only six physically challenged persons were recorded as being employed in the sector in 2018,’’ it said.
On the contribution of the solid minerals industry to Nigeria’s GDP, the report aligned with the National Bureau of Statistics figure of N224.79 billion representing 0.18 per cent of the country’s GDP.
A breakdown of the figure showed that quarrying and other minerals accounted for 0.16 per cent while coal and metal ores accounted for 0.01 per cent each, respectively.
One other feature of the solid minerals report for 2018 is the focus on the performance of the strategic minerals identified by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The minerals are coal; lead, zinc, limestone, barites, bitumen, gold and iron ore, adding that the seven strategic minerals mined in 2018 contributed 49.7 per cent to royalty payments declared in the year.
The report further revealed that 47 companies exported ores, concentrates and metal ingots worth 144.38 million dollars in 2018.
Ores and concentrates accounted for 34.02 million dollars with China identified as the principal destination of Nigeria’s mineral exports.
“China received 52, 500.51 metric tons of the ores and concentrates valued at 27,926,897.05 dollars which is 79.52 per cent of the total minerals exported in 2018,’’ it added.
The report also listed Germany; South Korea, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Benin Republics as other top destinations of Nigeria’s minerals.
It added that in 2018; 1, 516 mineral titles were issued by MCO and 634 exploration Licenses were issued within the year under review.
It noted that the country’s strategic minerals accounted for 448 or 70.66 per cent of the exploration licenses issued.
The report further explained that of the 720 entities covered by the exercise, only payments by 69 companies were reconciled.
The 69 companies were entities that met the materiality threshold of N3 million and above, and paid a total of N1.7 billion which represented 86.93 per cent of the total royalty paid within the year.
In 2017, the report noted that 59 companies that met the materiality threshold paid a total of N1.3 billion, and N1.4 billion was paid by 56 companies which met the threshold in 2016, While all payments made by companies were covered in the report, not all were reconciled.
On collections accruing to the solid mineral revenue account, the report said that the balance in the account as at December 2018 was N12.59 billion.
“The sum of N16.78 billion was the accumulated revenue from the solid minerals sector as at September 30, 2019. Out of this amount, the sum of N8.7 billion was distributed among the three tiers of government in October 2019, leaving a balance of N8.08 billion,’’ the report disclosed.
The report called on the government to develop strategies for monitoring and penalising extractive companies that fail to sign and or implement community development agreements.
It also advised that the newly introduced initiative on national gold purchase scheme be strengthened.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Rabiu Sani Ali
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors to redouble their efforts in reforming the business climate.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday, said the vice president attended the 3rd edition of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Awards, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The vice president told the winners and stakeholders that doing more would ensure that government’s efforts at improving the business climate in Nigeria were translated into long term sustainable growth for the economy.
He encouraged all stakeholders not to rest on their oars as more was required to fully industrialise Nigeria.
“What is more important than moving up in the rankings is the need to ensure that all our efforts translate into long-term sustainable growth for the economy.
“We must keep our business environment in Nigeria competitive and friendly; we are the logical destination for business in Africa; but that will not in, and of itself, translate to investments.
“Our business environment must make a case for itself to investors as to why they should come here and not elsewhere.
“We should be putting our best foot forward and working harder than ever to realise the lofty goals that the president has set for us this year.
“These small businesses are a critical part of the economy as they contribute about 48 per cent of our GDP and contribute about 80 per cent of jobs in the country; so, PEBECs efforts in the last reform cycle have yielded commendable fruits.”
Osinbajo said that all was achieved partly because of the strong partnership among key players across the critical sectors.
He said that Nigeria rose 15 places on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2019 and all together 39 places since 2016.
The vice president said that Nigeria was also being considered one of the 10 best performing economies in the world.
“In specific terms, Nigeria made starting a business easier by operationalising a new electronic platform that integrates the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) platforms.
“Registering Property in Lagos is now more transparent with the digitisation of cadastral plans in a geographical information system with digital copies now available.
“As regards enforcing contracts, the Chief Judges of Lagos and Kano States have introduced pre-trial conferences strict limit for adjournments in their practice directions for small claims courts. These steps created a more inclusive and enabling environment for small businesses.”
According to the vice president, all must appreciate the efforts of tireless civil and public servants especially the award winners.
Among agencies that won awards were the FIRS, The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
“The awards you have received are a tribute to what we can achieve if we work purposefully and diligently, and a proof that by diligence and purposefulness a lot can be achieved.
“The private sector also deserves our heartfelt gratitude and commendation, for its commitment and collaboration; especially their contributions in technical support and capacity building,” he said.
The PEBEC awards is an annual event organised by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat to recognise the support and contributions of stakeholders in the implementation of reforms aimed at making it easier to do business in Nigeria.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza