FG Executive Order To MDAs On Business Transparency Will Address Corruption In The Extractive Sector

Over the years, corruption and lack of transparency have become major impediments to businesses and investments in Nigeria,

FG Executive Order To MDAs On Business Transparency Will Address Corruption In The Extractive Sector

 

Over the years, corruption and lack of transparency have become major impediments to businesses and investments in Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley, the America ambassador in Nigeria, pointed this out at the event marking the 236th America’s independence in Abuja and urged Nigeria to address them.

In what seems a direct and pragmatic state response to numerous calls asking the government to address corruption and create a business environment that will promote transparency and efficiency, the Federal Government (FG) had on May 18th, 2017 given “executive order on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment”. This is pursuant to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In an executive order signed by Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President, the government makes it a mandatory for all the Federal Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to publish a complete list of all requirements or conditions for obtaining products and services within the MDA’s scope of responsibility, including permits, licenses, waivers, tax related processes, filings and approvals.

The government further directed, where the relevant agency or official fails to communicate approval or rejection of an application within the time stipulated in the published list, all applications for business registrations, certification, waivers, licenses or permits not concluded within the stipulated timeline shall be deemed approved and granted.

The government in a sure approach to making sure its directives are carried out, says that failure of the appropriate officer to act on any application within the timeline stipulated, without lawful excuse, shall amount to misconduct and be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the law and regulations applicable to the civil or public service.

The government further directed immigration service, Embassies and High Commissions to publish a comprehensive and up to date list of requirements, conditions and procedures for obtaining a visa on arrival, including estimated timeframe, websites for public accessibility.

The processing of issuance of visas on arrival shall be carried out in a transparent manner. Visas on arrival shall be granted at all Nigerian ports of entry once applicants have met all the published requirements, the government directed.

Recognizing the endemic corruption in port operations, the government warned that any official caught soliciting or receiving bribes from passengers or other port users shall be subject to immediate removal from the post and disciplinary as well as criminal proceedings in line with extant laws and regulations.

On the business registration, the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) shall within 14 days of the issuance of this Order ensure that all registration processes at the CAC are fully automated through the CAC website from the start of an application process to completion, including ensuring the availability of an online payment platform where necessary.

Nigeria has made several efforts to privatize the oil and gas sector, to enhance efficiency and ensure maximum output, while those in mining sector complains of difficulties in registering and operating mining companies in Nigeria.  Investors in the extractive sector, particular in mining often accuse the government of frustrating them by not offering a favourable environment for them to operate. Both media and other reports have shown that the challenge is mainly as a result of corruption. The current government is determined to address the challenge and creates enabling the environment for business to thrive, hence issues Executive Order to that effect.

With the Executive Order, the bureaucratic bottleneck that has frustrated businesses in the oil, gas and solid mineral is likely to disappear. And when that happens, the needed investment in the sector is likely to be achieved leading to a turnaround that will bring the desired outcome.

Audu Liberty Oseni, Communication Officer, PWYP-Nigeria

Abuja Secretariat