BY BAYO AMODU, Abuja
The minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, has said the ease of doing business initiative of the federal government will make the process of doing business in the country a lot easier, thereby repositioning the economy.
The federal government on May 18 endorsed and signed three Executive Orders expected to give boost to Nigeria’s concept of ease of doing business.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo performed the signing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The development is also expected to increase patronage of locally manufactured goods and remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks that stifled growth of businesses in Nigeria.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP, at the weekend, the minister said all civil servants in the country were aware of what the federal government aimed to achieve with the initiative and no one will treat it as business as usual because the orders also have sanctions and consequences for infractions.
He said the members of the public needed to be made aware and empowered with information and understanding of their rights about the executive orders on ease of doing business so that they, in effect, can demand those services, because that is what the law says.
On implementation of the initiative, he disclosed that there is an enabling business environment secretariat that is focused on implementing the executive order, particularly number one which is on transparency and ease of doing business, and enabling environment.
‘‘I think by far, the most important thing is that as we demand more from our people and there are consequences for not doing the right thing, you will find that we will change. I am positive that it is not going to be business as usual and the media has an important role to play to keep publicising the orders and keep reminding citizens of their rights.
‘‘Culture change takes time, and we all need to change as a people. We want a better country but we are the people that will change things, both those in government and those outside of government, but I’m positive that we will change because it is positive for us. We will do what is good for us as a country’’ he added.
The minister also disclosed that the federal government’s strategy is vigorously making efforts to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil. He said: ‘‘It is not that oil is not important, but we cannot stand on one leg. We are blessed to have oil. But we cannot depend on one commodity. Therefore, in order to diversify from oil, we need other areas, especially industries, services, SMEs to get into different businesses and trade.’’
Enelamah explained that without any iota of doubt, the government has to create the right environment, lower the cost of doing business and make the process of getting approvals easier in order to make it easier for people to do business in the country.
The minister also explained that the government has been working on the ease of doing business initiative since last year when President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Presidential Ease of Doing Business Council chaired by the vice President, with 10 ministers, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Head of Civil Service of the federation.
He said the Council which has a secretariat called the Enabling Business Secretariat has been working on several initiatives on how to ease doing business in Nigeria.