Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured that there will be a more aggressive accountability audit of Federal Government agencies.
Prof. Osinbajo said the audit would help in identifying bureaucratic bottlenecks and removing them in a renewed effort to further improve the country’s business environment and economy.
His spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president made the disclosure at the 5th anniversary celebration event of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
The celebration was held on Wednesday night at the State House Banquet Hall.
According to Osinbajo, such move, will in turn, encourage more local and foreign investments and create more jobs and opportunities for Nigerians.
He said that, in some of the agencies, the heads were committed to change; but down the line, the system either resisted or was simply not well designed to function properly.
“We must ensure that they are not hindered from doing business easily so they can produce the opportunities our nation needs.
“The Federal Government will work with the agencies to implement a more aggressive accountability audit.
“Where we identify the specific bottlenecks in systems possibly down to the particular desks where these problems arise; we may then come for agencies and officials who have failed or resisted change.’’
Osinbajo said that despite the challenges in some areas, PEBEC’s reforms and efforts had been instrumental in improving Nigeria’s business environment in the last few years.
Osinbajo said that since its inception, PEBEC had achieved the delivery of over 150 reforms and completed six National Action Plan (NAP).
“As a result, Nigeria has moved an aggregate of 39 places on the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016, and was twice named as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world in the last three cycles.
“Nigeria was also named one of only two African countries to make this highly prestigious list in 2019.
“Similarly, the 2018 Sub-national Doing Business report on Nigeria recorded unprecedented improvement, with 100 per cent participation of states in the Right-of-Reply exercise.
“`The World Economic Forum (WEF), in its 2018 Global Competitive Report, also recognised Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world, and highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness in the enabling business environment.”
According to him, PEBEC’s reforms have proved what is possible if stakeholders are hands-on and intentional in making it easy to do business in Nigeria.
The vice president highlighted the collaborative efforts of several reform-minded heads of MDAs in driving PEBEC reforms and Plans, explaining that they were instrumental in their development and implementation.
On her part, Amb. Maryam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, presented PEBEC’s five-year empirical impact assessment book and commemorative coffee book.
She said the books were in keeping faith with the council’s tradition in documenting its activities and to employ fact-based metrics to measure the impact of its reforms.
The minister said that the empirical impact assessment was commissioned to assess the impact of reforms outlined in NAP.
In her remarks, Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, highlighted the achievement of PEBEC in promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Oduwole said that institutional reforms in the public sector were major factors in jump-starting and sustaining economic growth and development.
She said that the current administration was the first to dedicate a stand-alone segment of a national development plan to such an intervention, under the competitive pillar of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of 2017-2020.
Dignitaries at meeting included Sen. Ajibola Basiru, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Others were Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba and Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora.
The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, Heads of Federal Government agencies and parastatals ,members of the diplomatic corps, development partners, captains of industry, among others also attended the event.(NAN)