Friday, May 19, 2017 7:14 am
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday signed three executive orders to open up the choked business environment in the country.
The signing was the climax of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meeting at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa meant to engage government officials who would be implementing the orders and the new instructions.
The orders are to ease business, fast track budget submission and promote Made-in-Nigeria products.
The orders would promote transparency and efficiency in the business environment, support local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government, and ensure timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by statutory and non-statutory agencies
The executive orders also stipulate sanctions and punitive measures meant to address violations.
On the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment every Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) should publish a complete list of all requirements or conditions for obtaining products and services.
The mandate includes permits, licenses, waivers, tax related processes, filings and approvals which include all fees and timelines required for the processing of applications for the products and services.
The MDAs are required to henceforth conspicuously paste such on their premises and publish same on their website within 21 days from the date of issuance of the order.
It shall be the responsibility of the head of the relevant MDA to ensure that the list is verified and kept up-to-date at all times.
The order stated that where the relevant agency or official failed to communicate approval or rejection of an application within the time stipulated in the published list it shall be deemed to have got default approval.
As a result, all applications for business registrations, certification, waivers, licenses or permits not concluded within the stipulated timeline shall be deemed approved and granted.
However, where applications are rejected within the stipulated timeline, all rejections shall be given with reasons clearly stated.
Rejections of applications shall be tracked and accurate records kept at all times for each MDA and shall be submitted to the head of the MDA on a weekly basis.
Failure of the appropriate officer to act on any application within the timeline stipulated, without lawful excuse, shall amount to misconduct.
Such act would be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the law and regulations applicable to the civil or public service.
On the One-Government-Directive an MDA that requires input documentation, requirements or conditions from another MDA shall only request for photocopy of the original document.
Also Service Level Agreements shall be binding on MDAs and shall be relied upon by MDAs in the issuance of published stipulated timelines for processing of applications for the products and services.
On the Entry Experience of Visitors ordinary tourist and business entry visas to Nigeria shall henceforth be issued or rejected with reason by the Consular Office of Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions within 48 hours of receipt of valid application.
The timeline shall be notified to the public by pasting a notice conspicuously at every Consular Office and by publication on every website of Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions.
In that regard, a comprehensive and up to date list of requirements, conditions and procedures for obtaining visa on arrival, including estimated timeframe, shall be published on all immigration-related websites in Nigeria, abroad and all ports of entry into Nigeria.
The order directs that there shall be no touting whatsoever by official or unofficial persons at any port in Nigeria while on-duty staff shall be properly identified by uniform and official cards.
Similarly, non-official staff shall be removed from the secured areas of airports while officials of FAAN, Immigration, security agency or Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any other agency are barred from meeting any non-designated dignitary at any secure areas of the airport.
The order stipulated that any official caught soliciting or receiving bribes from passengers or other port users shall be subject to immediate removal from post and disciplinary action as well as prosecution.
The order requires that each port in Nigeria shall assign an existing export terminal to be dedicated to the exportation of agriculture produce within 30 days of the issuance of the order while the Apapa Port shall resume 24-hour operations also within same 30 days.
With respect to registration of businesses, the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) shall within 14 days of the issuance of the order ensure that all registration processes at the CAC are fully automated.
On support for local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government, all MDAs shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement of goods and services.
Made-in-Nigeria products shall be given preference in the procurement of Uniforms and Footwear; Food and Beverages; Furniture and Fittings; Stationery; Motor Vehicles; Pharmaceuticals; Construction Materials; and Information and Communication Technology.
In all items at least 40 per cent of the procurement expenditure shall be locally manufactured goods or local service providers.
On budgets, all Agencies, whether or not listed in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, shall, on or before end of May every year, prepare and submit to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Budget and National Planning their schedule of revenue and expenditure estimates for the next three financial years.
All Agencies shall, on or before the end of July every year, also, prepare and submit their annual budget estimates, which shall be derived from the estimates of revenue and expenditure as projected in their three-year schedule.
A joint committee of the Ministries of Finance, and the Budget and National Planning shall review such estimates and ensure their conformity with the national plan and the financial and budgetary regulations before processing them for approval and early transmission to the National Assembly.
The order stipulated that except with the consent of the President, no payment shall be made in respect of any capital or recurrent liability of an Agency other than payment of due salaries and allowances, unless the Agency has an approved budget and the payment conforms with the approval.
Heads of Agencies and Chief Executive Officers of Government owned companies shall take personal responsibility and be subject to appropriate sanctions for any failure to comply with the executive order effective May 18.