Capital market stakeholders on Tuesday called for periodic review of laws and regulations across federal, state and local levels to enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
They spoke at the 2021 Issuers & Investors Clinic, an annual symposium organised by Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution (IIADRI) in Lagos.
The symposium had the theme: “The Burden of Regulatory Compliance on Companies viz-a-via Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.”
They stakeholders who described regulation and compliance as a significant risk to businesses called for periodic review of laws and regulations to enhance job creation.
Delivering a keynote address, Mrs Cecilia Madueke, the Company Secretary, Julius Berger Plc, said regulations should be more about the environment than sources of income.
Madueke said the purpose of regulation was to drive the economy, create standard setting, effective information and limiting the downside risk of any business innovation.
She noted that cost of legislation being borne by companies was hurting their revenue generation.
Madueke said excessive regulations had led to capital flight due to dwindling revenues.
According to her, there is an increasing need for government to commit to providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Nigeria.
“The burden of regulatory enforcement and compliance results in breakdown of law and order, unclear objectives, financial loss and costs.
“Operators must see regulation and compliance as a significant risk to their business and should be on the front burner for governance bodies,” she said.
Madueke said government should invest in capacity building in the public sector.
“For the government, they have to invest in capacity building in the public sector and the National Assembly should make laws rather than being more focused on its investigative functions.
“The process of regulation making must be more inclusive with a workable transition period as this will engender buy-in,” she added.
She spoke on the topic: “The burden of regulatory compliance on businesses in Nigeria: The operator’s perspective.”
In his contribution, the Managing Partner, Crowe Dafinone, Mr Igho Dafinone, said the power of legislation usually favoured regulators without recourse to the company.
“Companies have to file their financial reports with different regulatory bodies. Why can we not file these accounts at one place and all parties who want a copy of the reports access it from there?
“There are way too many audits, exorbitant penalties and multiple taxation on financial reporting, this is really hampering wealth generation and job creation in the nation’s economy,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, IIADRI, Mr Moses Igbrude, said the symposium was organised to re-examine the onerous compliance obligations placed on companies and how it affected them.
“We are convinced that this platform will provide the needed opportunity for the regulators and regulated to articulate ways and means to foster not only a mutual understanding of the purpose of these regulations,” Igbrude said.
He noted that the Issuers and Investors Clinic series were aimed at annually providing the needed platform where stakeholders writhing under the Nigerian investment space meet to express views.