Wednesday, 7 June 2017

PANELISTS AT WIMBIZ BREAKFAST SERIES IDENTIFY CORRUPTION, INSECURITY, PARLOUS INFRASTRUCTURE AS THE BANE OF BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA

Corruption, insecurity and dilapidated infrastructure still constitute major obstacles daily to entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This was this submission of a panel of experts at the annual CEO/Policy Maker Interactive Breakfast Series tagged, Ease of Doing Business: A Policy Dialogue on Regulations organised by the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz) in Lagos yesterday.

Comprising Head, Tax and Regulatory Services, PwC, Taiwo Oyedele; MD, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi; MD, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman; Chairman, Lafarge Bolaji Balogun and MD, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Bola Onadele; the panel pointed out that Nigeria must go beyond lip service if she was serious about improving the ease of doing business and opening up the economy to Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

Decrying the nation’s unenviable 169th position of the 170 countries sampled in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Balogun called for urgent tackling of infrastructure, access to finance and education. He noted that workable infrastructure would boost agriculture and attract investment, thus creating jobs in the long run.

According to Usman, incessant police checks constituted a disservice to prompt clearance of goods at the ports. She lamented that the exercise, is unfortunately, been carried on goods already cleared by relevant authorities, thereby giving rise to shady practices. “The high cost of doing business can be attributed to all kinds of illegal and unofficial costs imposed on hapless Nigerians. The truth is, the cost and ease of doing business are tied together and affect each other simultaneously,” she said.

She called for a reform of the public sector, describing it as over-bloated. The NPA CEO canvassed that workers need to be well remunerated to stem corruption. “Employers need to pay their employees well so that they would not be tempted to start collecting bribes,” she added. Usman hinted reforms were ongoing at her agency to include the use of rails for movement of containers and inland waterways for transportation of cargo, among others

On her part, Ogunbiyi revealed that reforms were taking place in the electricity sector, imploring government to assist in the area of gas supply. On outages in parts of the country, she urged the public to end beating, maiming or killing of officials when they come around for bills.

The REA boss noted that the issue of high tariffs was being reviewed, promising a change soon. Pointing out that the economy ought not to go into recession if the nation’s monetary agency understood the financial market properly, Oyedele called for a single exchange rate and sensible financial policies to engender its revival. (Guardian)