Osinbajo wants reorientation of regulatory agencies on business

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is need for a complete reorientation on the exercise of regulatory authority for businesses and investors to thrive in the country.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akandem in a statement on Tuesday, said the vice president received a report of an ad hoc committee of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) on agro-export at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

There was also the presentation of a National Action Plan (NAP) 7.0.

Osinbajo, who presided over the first PEBEC meeting of the year, said there was a problem if people who wanted to export could not do so due to what seemed like too many regulations.

“There are too many regulatory requirements; too many regulations kill output.

“We have to take a second look at how we regulate; over-regulation is killing businesses; it kills investments; an agric exporter can’t export perishable produce after months.’’

He said that processes of product certifications took so long on the regulatory queues in Nigeria, while businesses from outside the country with swift regulatory regimes bring the same products into the country to sell.

“Because our certification processes are slow, others from outside nations-from neighbouring countries based on an ECOWAS agreement–with faster processes can bring their products and sell here, while our own businesses are still on the queues of regulatory agencies,” he said.

Earlier, the PEBEC Secretariat had presented a report of the ad hoc committee of PEBEC on agro-export.

The report indicated that that exportation flow as regards payment and verification was extremely cumbersome.

“That exporters complained about the imposition of the NAFEX rate on export proceeds, which limits their access to foreign exchange and their inability to utilise their export proceeds.

“For instance, dollars domiciled in exporters’ accounts cannot be utilised for freight payment for export.

“There were multiple physical cargo examinations by Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies.

“There were also “multiple and sometimes overlapping documentation requirements from government regulatory agencies,’’ the report said.

The council, therefore, resolved to approve an Agro-Export Action Plan that will remedy the situation and also approved a 60-day National Action Plan 7.0 that continues the ease of doing business reforms of the Buhari administration.

The Plan kicks off on Feb. 7.

The meeting had in attendance Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Niyi Adebayo, Police Affairs Minister, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola and Head of the Civil Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan.

Others were the Special Advisers to the President on Economic Matters  Adeyemi Dipeolu and that  Ease of Doing Business and PEBEC Secretary, Jumoke Oduwole.

Heads of agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Ports Authority, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Nigeria Shippers Council and representatives of the Private Sector also attended the meeting.