The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called for urgent attitudinal change within the country’s regulatory bodies to enhance Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) framework.
Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at the Ease of Doing Business conference organised by Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK-Nigeria).
Nigeria is ranked 131 among 190 economies on the World Bank latest global Ease of Doing Business index.
Kayode said that government should ensure that key regulators were proactive, adding that existing regulatory framework for the EoDB had hindered and weakened economic prosperity and growth in the country.
Speaking on ‘Regulatory Framework and Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’, Kayode said that business operators with reliable data were also coming up with scary reports.
He listed some of the scary reports to include the relocation of companies, failed businesses, delay and failure by some regulatory bodies to give prerequisite support or approval in the sector, among others.
“Government agencies should transform from regulators to business facilitators as well as put an end to complicated paperwork, which aids corruption, to give room for automation of business approval processes.
“There should be access to capital, consolidation of multiple charges, inspections, single-digit business loan, the government should allow the private sector to run businesses and only grant facilitation to grow the economy,” he said.
He noted that the Federal Government policy on EoDB has recorded many successes, by placing the issue of the hostile business environment in the front burner of public discourse.
“It is regrettable to note, however, that regulatory environment remains harsh and hostile with no sign of easing,” he said.
According to him, most regulators operate from a socialist mindset that sees business as a hindrance, rather than a pivotal plank of the society.
The ACCI president added that most regulators lacked a clear understanding of how market forces operated or deliberately neglected the role of production cost, product prices and competition in the life of a business.
He advised that the Nigerian Customs Service should be reformed and its activities automated to remove grey areas for competition and efficiency.
Mrs Edirin Akemu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, while encouraging regulators to be facilitators, listed expectations of business operators on the regulatory framework of EoDB.
Akemu noted equal market access, value transparency on decision making and operations, incentives administration, removal of uncertainties, access to resolution and intervention as some measures expected by operators for business to thrive.
Katharina Felgenhauer, Delegate, AHK-Nigeria, said that the Germans were working with its commercial affiliate and Nigerian companies in fostering business relations, hence the EoDB conference.
According to her, the delegation represented German business interest in Nigeria, while under International Business Services Ltd., AHK Nigeria offered services to companies to support foreign trade business activities.