In a renewed attempt at further deepening the reforms of the nation’s business environment, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), has resolved that CEOs and Heads of some Federal Government regulatory agencies be presented with the outcome of a recent survey that exposes major pitfalls in the operations of the agencies.
The Cost of Compliance Report which was presented to the Council at its first virtual meeting of the year on Tuesday revealed persistent corruption, duplicity of functions, poor service orientation, and several anti-business disposition in some of the regulatory agencies.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who presided over the meeting directed that CEOs and heads of such government regulatory agencies involved should be presented with the outcomes and interaction should take place regarding some of the worrying disclosures in the report of the survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, PwC.
Prof Osinbajo who said the report revealed human issues that are not unavoidable, stressed the important roles regulatory agencies play in ensuring businesses are able to thrive seamlessly without inhibition. He noted that doing otherwise would only jeopardize the government’s efforts in creating a conducive business environment.
He stated that “if the environment on account of regulatory authorities is so difficult or expensive, such that people are discouraged or it doesn’t make sense for people to do business, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot in a manner we can only blame ourselves. These are human issues and we must do something very serious about these issues.”
Speaking further about holding those responsible for the major lapses to account, the Vice President said, “I am in full support of holding our CEOs to account because they, in turn, must hold their staff to account. If there is systemic corruption, bribery and extortion, and nobody is held to account, there is a problem.”
According to Prof Osinbajo, the plans of the Federal Government in growing the economy and changing the lives and livelihood of Nigerians for the better is largely dependent on the business environment in which they operate.
“Every one of our plans around sustaining economic growth, improving job creation and opportunities, whatever it is that we plan to do to make life better for the citizens, depends entirely on the environment in which people have to do business.
“It determines whether they will invest their resources, expand their businesses, and it just determines practically everything.”
Others present at the PEBEC meeting yesterday include the Ministers of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the Vice Chairman of PEBEC; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Budget and National Planning (State), Clem Abga; Special Adviser on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, and Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, representing the National Assembly among other top government officials and representatives from PwC.
Members of PEBEC also condoled with Dr. Oduwole on the death of her father, former Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof. Afolabi Olumide who passed away recently. Otunba Adebayo who spoke on behalf of PEBEC prayed that God will grant the Council Secretary and the entire family the fortitude to bear the loss.