Ease Of Doing Business in Nigeria: PEBEC Completes 31 Reforms in 60 Days

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has released a report card on the 60-Day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business which was implemented from February 21, 2017 to April 21, 2017.

The report, which highlights 31 completed reforms across the Council’s eight priority indicators, was unveiled on Monday, April 24, 2017, at PEBEC’s monthly meeting.

A statement from the PEBEC Secretariat disclosed that the “Report Card is in keeping with PEBEC’s promise to be accountable to Nigerians for the targets set and promises made.

“Completed reforms are being closely monitored to ensure diligent implementation with minimal disruption, and pending reforms are being escalated to ensure completion in the coming weeks.”

 

On Starting a Business, the report highlighted the CAC’s online registration portal, document upload interface, single incorporation form, e-stamping, among other reforms which have led to a reduction in the number of days needed to incorporate a business. The completed reforms on the Entry and Exit of People indicator include Simplified Visa-on-Arrival process, Infrastructural improvements at the Abuja airport, and the new Immigration Regulation 2017.

 

On Trading across Borders, some of the completed reforms include palletisation of imports, advanced cargo manifests, reduction in documentation requirements and scheduling of Joint Physical Examination by the Customs Service.

 

The National Action Plan contained initiatives and actions implemented by responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the Governments of Lagos and Kano states, as well as some private sector stakeholders.

 

PEBEC is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) but Monday’s meeting was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

 

Other Ministers at today’s meeting included Foreign Affairs Ministers Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State for Industry Trade & Investment Aisha Abubakar, and her counterpart in Budget & National Planning Zainab Ahmed. Other government dignataries at the meeting included the Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, and several heads of MDAs. The report was presented by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Trade & Investment.

 

The Council emphasised that with the conclusion of implementation of the Action Plan, the next phase would involve “deepening existing reforms; completing and implementing pending initiatives; engaging with the public; validating completed reforms and kicking-off medium-term reforms.”

 

The Council would also kick-start “sub-national reforms across Nigeria’s 36 states; trading within Nigeria; kick-off of initiatives and reforms improving business processes and regulations within Nigeria; and ease of movement of goods within and across regions in Nigeria.”

 

 

PEBEC’s Mandate:
 

  1. Remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria
  2. Move Nigeria 20 places upwards in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings
     

Priority Areas: 

  1. Starting a Business
  2. Construction Permits
  3. Getting Electricity
  4. Registering Property
  5. Getting Credit
  6. Paying Taxes
  7. Trading Across Borders
  8. Entry and Exit of People

A: Starting a Business
 

60-Day Target: To reduce number of days required for business registration from 10 days to 2 days 

 

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Company name search on CAC portal: Enabled online search on Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) portal (www.cac.gov.ng) to avoid duplication of names and prevent selection of prohibited names
  2. Company registration no longer requires lawyers: Made it optional for SMEs to hire lawyers to prepare registration documents
  3. Single incorporation form: Introduced single incorporation form (CAC1.1) to save time and reduce costs
  4. Document Upload Interface: Introduced document upload interface on CAC website to enable e-submission of registration documents
  5. FIRS e-payment solution integrated: Integrated FIRS e-payment solution into CAC portal to enable e-stamping
  6. CAC lawyers conduct declaration of compliance: Empowered CAC internal lawyers to certify company incorporation forms and conduct statutory declaration of compliance for a fixed fee of N500
  7. Company Registration timeline revised: Amended CAC regulation to reflect 24-hour timeline for company registration from when application form is completed and all required documents available
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Reforms: PENDING

  1. CAC portal uptime reliability: Improve reliability of CAC portal to ensure over 99% uptime

 

  1. Dealing with Construction Permits

60-Day Target: To reduce number of days required to get construction permits from 42 days to 20 days in Lagos  

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. E-planning platform: Operationalised electronic planning platform (www.lagosepp.com.ng) through which applications can be made and tracked, fees can be paid and architectural designs uploaded
  2. Clarity on EIA and Soil Test: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required for only construction works with potentially heavy impact on the environment. Soil Investigation Report only required for four-storey buildings and above, except in cases of construction in marshy or swampy areas.
  3. Clear timelines: Uploaded timelines for obtaining permits on Lagos State Physical Planning and Permit Authority (LASPPPA) e-planning platform
  4. Fees published online: Published breakdown of formulas and rates for fees on the LASPPPA e-planning platform to prevent arbitrariness and enhance transparency
  5. Qualification laws published online: Published all laws concerning qualification of professionals (Town planners, Engineers & Architects) involved in construction on e-planning platform
  6. Procedures and Laws published online: Published all laws and procedures concerning dealing with construction permits on e-planning platform to enhance transparency

Reforms: PENDING 

  1. Regulation on Construction Permits: Issue regulation committing LASPPPA to issue construction permits in 30-day timeline
  2. Getting Electricity

60-Day Target: To streamline procedures and improve timelines for businesses to get connected to the grid 

 

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Reduction in number of procedures from 9 to 5: The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued draft order officially reducing number of procedures for new connections to the grid from 9 to 5
  2. Reduction in timeline from 198 days to 61 days: NERC has issued draft order officially reducing timeline for new connections to the grid from 198 days to 61 days

 

  1. Registering Property (Lagos)

60 Day-Target: To reduce number of days required to register property from 77 to 30 and eliminate unnecessary procedures  

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Sworn affidavit no longer needed: Eliminated requirement for sworn affidavit as a procedure for conducting title search at the Lagos Land Registry
  2. On-going streamlining of registration process: Merged requirement for stamping of Deed of Assignment with final registration process, for lands owned by Lagos State Government

Reforms: PENDING
 

  1. Consolidation of payments: Consolidate several payments into one
  2. Reduction of time for governor’s consent: Reduce time for consent as it exceeds that of countries with similar laws
  3. Reconstruction of Lands Registry: Launch of re-constructed Lands Registry/service centre scheduled for May 1st
  4. Complaint mechanism available online: Upload information of PR, Complaints’ Unit and Lands Services Directorate in Lagos
  5. Getting Credit
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60 Day-Target: To ensure MSMEs have more access to credit, ultimately at cheaper rates  

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Online searches on the National Collateral Registry: Interested parties can conduct online searches of secured interests on movable assets on the National Collateral Registry
  2. Increased usage of the National Collateral Registry: Increased utilisation of National Collateral Registry for online registrations, amendments and cancellations of financing statements by lenders
  3. Increased usage of credit history and credit scoring: Increased sensitisation and utilisation of Credit Reports and Credit Scoring by banks and other financial institutions

Reforms: PENDING 

  1. National Assembly to pass relevant legislation: NASS working to pass two priority bills to ease access to credit: Secured Transactions in Movable Assets (aka Collateral Registry) Bill and Credit Bureau Services Bill.
  2. Trading Across Borders

60-Day Target: To reduce export and import time by up to 50 per cent  

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Palletisation of Imports: Imports into Nigeria now required to be placed in pallets to enable quicker physical examination
  2. Provision of advanced cargo manifest: Vessels importing goods into Nigeria now required to transmit cargo manifest in advance to ensure improved risk assessment and optimal cargo placement
  3. NCS to coordinate physical examination: NCS now required to schedule and coordinate joint physical examination to ensure only one point of contact between officials and importers
  4. Accelerate pre-export documentation procedures: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and banks now required to process Net Export Proceeds (NXP) forms within 72 hours; and Pre-Shipment Inspection Agencies (PIAs) required to issue Certificate of Clean Inspection (CCI) within 3 days
  5. Reduction in documentation requirements: Approval obtained to reduce number of documents required for imports from 14 to 8, and number of documents needed for export from 10 to 7
  6. Reduction in container placement notice time: Reduced minimum container placement notice time needed by Terminal Operators for examination from 24 hours to 12 hours

Reforms: PENDING
 

  1. Standardise template for reporting fees
  2. Roll out complaints portal
  3. Optimise pre-shipment process for exports
  4. Revise SLAs: Ensure contracts and revised Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are put in place for PIAs and make the process for appointing PIAs fully online
  5. Entry and Exit of People

60-Day Target: Visa processing timeline and improved traveller experience  

Reforms: COMPLETED 

  1. Simplified Visa-on-arrival and submission process: Updated visa-on-arrival procedure to include to include e-submission of applications to dedicated NIS email address (oa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng)
  2. New Immigration Regulation 2017: Honourable Minister of Interior has approved and released a new Immigration Regulation
  3. Consolidation of arrival/departure forms: Consolidated arrival and departure forms now available and in use at the airports
  4. 48-hour visa processing time: Approved timeline of 48 hours for business and tourism visa processing at Nigerian missions abroad
  5. Infrastructural Improvements (Abuja Airport): Select infrastructural improvements at Abuja airport, including repairs of ACs, escalators, carousels, toilets and painting

Reforms: PENDING 

  1. Infrastructural improvements (Lagos airport): Effect infrastructural improvements at Lagos airport, including repairs of ACs, escalators, carousels, toilets and painting
  2. Eliminate manual baggage searches: Deploy baggage scanners at the airports to eliminate intrusive and time-consuming manual searches

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