The Presidency has developed an omnibus bill on the ease of doing business and is set to present it to the National Assembly.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said this in Lagos on Thursday during the 2017 Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Presidential Policy Dialogue Session.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, acknowledged that in view of the recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics on the state of the economy, it was obvious that Nigeria still faced challenging times.
He said there was a need to broaden the reforms established by the government on the ease of doing business and hasten their implementation.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was committed to building a robust and diversified economy, adding that one way the government was going about the task was by systemically removing constraints to doing business.
He said, “We are working with trade associations and the private sector to implement the ease of doing business reforms.
“We have begun the process of developing an omnibus bill, which we will work with the National Assembly to pass into law in the near term.
“Before the end of this year, we will revamp all the special economic zones in the six geopolitical zones of the country to complement the industrial city being built by the private sector. We are also making policies to increase local production and value addition to our products.
“We have developed a number of sectoral policies such as tomato and cement policies and we plan to develop policies for other products where we have comparative advantage such as palm oil, leather and garment.”
He added that the government was planning to hold a special investors’ conference where about 50 investors would be brought together to discuss with the President and captains of industry on the specific things that could be done to attract investment to the country.
While acknowledging the role of the private sector in moving the economy out of the recession, Osinbajo said that the input of the private sector players in past policy dialogues were useful in establishing the new reforms on ease of doing business.
In her opening remarks, the President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, said that the current short to medium-term outlook of the economy was better than what it was in 2016.
She attributed this change to policy initiatives of the government, the engagement and consultations with key stakeholders and some positive developments in the external sector.
She said, “Investor confidence is on the upswing and liquidity in the forex market has increased; there is a better clarity in policy direction.
“We are also very confident that the recent government initiatives on the ease of doing business will impact positively on the economy.
“Building economy is typically work in progress. We will continue to collaborate with the government to ensure quality outcomes from these policy measures.”
In his goodwill message, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Rotimi Ogunleye, said that the state government was working to transform Lagos into the first “smart city” in Africa to make it more conducive for business because of the amount of private sector investments that the state was attracting.
The Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was also represented by the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mantu Maigari, stressed the need for the private sector to work with the government to determine policies that would move the nation forward.
He said that the private sector must engage government at all times and advise it instead of assuming that the government should know everything.