The Regulatory Conversations series, which began in September 2018, is aimed at promoting good governance, integrity and sound practices in Nigeria through dialogue between the Public and Private sectors, and thereby achieve best regulatory practices.
This third Regulatory Conversations (RC 3.0) focused on the activities of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and its operational arm, the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) charged with the realisation of the initiatives.
PEBEC was established by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari in July, 2016 partly in response to Nigeria’s falling rating on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, and to remove delays and restrictions that had become associated with doing business in Nigeria. The Council, chaired by His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, comprises ten Ministers, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, representatives of the National Assembly, State Governments and the private sector. The Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) was also set up to serve as the operating secretariat for PEBEC and assists the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) to implement the reform agenda of the Council. It was empowered by an Executive Order (EO1) signed by the Acting President (HEVP) on 18 May, 2018.
This RC3.0 forum sought to:
- Examine the scope of reforms put in place, so far, by this administration
- Assess suitability of the reforms and their effectiveness
- Identify practical steps the Public and Private sectors should take to improve business environment
- Consider and identify what needs to be done to achieve the requisite changes
- Examine whether sufficient resources are being applied by the government and how can they be enhanced
In introducing the context for the dialogue, Mr Soji Apampa, CEO of the Integrity Organisation reviewed the need for a philosophy of government to underpin reform actions and how in previous conversations, it had been found an important ingredient for effectiveness. He asked ‘What can business do when regulation and standards are not being applied fairly?’ and further, ‘What can be done to prevent subversion of regulatory intent by acts of agencies?’
The forum featured a presentation by PEBEC, followed by a panel discussion and further opened up to questions from the floor. Participants included representatives of the MDAs and a good cross section of the Private sector business community. Nigeria is said to be acting in line with other African countries who are also implementing business environment reforms and it is important to achieve success to remain competitive as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and its related benefits for development.
As a result of the forum, the PEBEC App is operational and functional and there is more awareness about the provisions/practicalities of the Executive Order 001.
Also, as a result of this event, the Organization received an award recently by PEBEC as the most engaged civil society partner. The organization was recognized for its outstanding contributions to improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria through its collective action initiatives.