By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has canvassed direct engagements between Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and regulatory agencies to effectively address communication gaps.
Presenting the report of a study jointly sponsored by the chamber and the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), director-general, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf,, said that access to information was critical to effective performance of SMEs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had earlier reported that the study conducted was titled: “Transactional Accountability, Process Consistency and Operational Transparency”.
Yusuf said the study was administered on business owners, senior managers and personnel responsible for interfacing with the regulatory agencies in three cities- Aba, Kano and Lagos due to their high concentration of SMEs.
He said the study focused on the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as critical and strategic regulatory agencies.
Yusuf said there is the need for ease of access to information for SMEs to address gaps between officials of regulatory agencies and owners/managers of SMEs could not be overemphasised in engagement process.
This, he said, would eliminate all forms of revenue leakages and transparency issues in their procedures and operations translating to improved outcomes for both the SMEs and the regulatory agencies.
The DG said the study also revealed the importance of the full adoption of technology by the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to drive efficiency and ensure transparency.
Stating that poor deployment and inadequate use of information technology, ineffective grievance redress mechanism and non-standard approaches as SMEs and regulatory agencies engaged created opportunities for transactional accountability breaches.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria on May 18, 2017, signed the Executive Order 001 on “the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment.
“In spite of appreciable efforts by the agencies to ensure that engagement and interface occur directly with businesses seeking their services, more than 80 per cent of SMEs engage the regulatory agencies through consultants and intermediaries,” he stressed.