Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said excessive regulation has become a major bottleneck to smoothly exporting Nigeria’s products to other countries.
It is as he said, there needs to be a complete reorientation of the exercise of regulatory authority in the country for businesses and investors to thrive in Nigeria.
Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday after receiving a report from an ad hoc committee of the Presidential Council for the Business Environment on agro-export and the presentation of a national action plan 7.0 at the presidential villa.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President for Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, revealed this in a statement he signed on Sunday titled “Osinbajo Charges FG Regulatory Agencies: You Need to Change Direction to businesses”.
The vice-president who chaired the first PEBEC meeting for 2022 noted that there is a problem “if people who want to export cannot export because of what seems to be too many regulations.
“There are too many regulatory requirements. Too many regulations kill production. We need to review the way we regulate.
“Overregulation kills businesses. It kills investment. An agricultural exporter cannot export perishable products after months.
The Vice President lamented that there are also product certification processes that take so long in regulatory queues in Nigeria. In contrast, companies from outside the country with fast regulatory regimes will then bring the same products into the country to sell.
“Because our certification processes are slow, other outside countries (neighboring countries based on an ECOWAS agreement) with faster processes can bring their products and sell them here, while our own companies are still in the queue of regulatory agencies,” he observed.
Earlier, the PEBEC Secretariat presented a report of the ad hoc committee of the Presidential Council for the Business Environment on agro-export, in which it was revealed, among other things, that “the export flow in terms of payment and verification is extremely cumbersome.
“That exporters have complained about “the imposition of the NAFEX rate on export earnings, which limits their access to foreign exchange and their inability to use their export earnings”. (For example, dollars domiciled in exporters’ accounts cannot be used for payment of export freight);
“There were ‘several physical examinations of cargo by pre-shipment inspection agencies; There were also multiple and sometimes overlapping documentation requirements from government regulators.
“The Council therefore decided to approve an Agro-Export Action Plan which will remedy the situation and also approved a 60-day National Action Plan 7.0 which continues the ease of doing trade reforms of the Buhari regime. The Plan starts on February 7, 2022.”
PEBEC members present at Tuesday’s meeting included Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi; the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Head of Civil Service, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; Special Advisors on Economic Issues, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu; Ease of Doing Business and Board Secretary, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole; Heads of several federal government agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Ports Authority, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, Standard Organization of Nigeria, Nigeria Shippers Council and private sector representatives.
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