The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s office coordinates the Presidential Enabling Business Council. The Council was set up pursuant to an Executive Order signed by the V.P then Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The crux of the Order was to ease the process of doing business in Nigeria. Prior to this order, it was a herculean task moving from point A to Point B in business registration without facing countless potholes. The move by the Vice President has so far received accolades both within and outside the shores of the country. The Ease of Doing Business initiative has streamlined the process of business registration making it easier to start a business. The V.P has also involved industry stakeholders comprising the organized private sector and relevant government departments with a view to cover up loopholes that impede efficient business formation and administration in Nigeria. Several regulatory agencies have been directed to reduce the down- time in product registration and ensure more efficient service delivery.
All these are commendable when viewed from the institutional perspective. However, considering the fact that there are human factors involved at every stage of the process, it is imperative that these factors be considered. Nigeria is at the most formative years of information technology. The country is yet to embrace the world of artificial intelligence or the internet of things. It is still grappling with the challenges of the second industrial revolution. The image of the country is in tatters and the Nigerian passports arouse suspicion at any port of entry around the world. There is no way, doing business in the 21st century can be easy without considering these elements and changing the attitude and our way of doing business in the country.
Therefore, without any intention to denigrate the current arrangement, we submit that the council on enabling business must move beyond ad-hoc arrangements to addressing the real issues. It cannot be gainsaid that Trust is the major factor that propels business partnerships. Thus, without working on the national psyche and having a strong and steady arrangement to change the national image, doing business in Nigeria may not be easy as expected. There should be arrangements to fix the roads, to ensure that the telecom industry operates as world class. Internet connectivity ought to be cheap and easy to install. The Justice System and the Health system must be efficient and offer prompt service. These are some of the factors that propel investment in a country and must be addressed alongside the current institutional re-arrangements of the moment.
Obinna Edeh is a Lawyer and Research Consultant with interest in the Economics of Governance, Medical Rights and Divinity. You can follow him on Facebook and twitter @obilexie