…As Official says Nigeria ranks 146th on Ease of Doing Business***
The National Assembly has warned all the revenue generating federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) engaging in diversion of revenues to desist from the act, confirming a recent observation of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, immediate past National President of ANLCA that the greedy desire for internally generated revenues (IGR) by some MDAs had resulted in self-keeping, of some revenues for self use.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Solomon Adeola, gave the warning after a meeting with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance.
Adeola, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Chief Kayode Odunaro, said that the era of diversion of revenues generated by MDAs was over.
According to him, the National Assembly will ensure that the Federal Government generates enough revenue to implement people-oriented policies and programmes.
“It has been observed that year in year out, the Federal Government has not been able to meet its targets on independent revenue sources.
“Findings indicate that the major culprit in this shortcoming is the inadequacies of MDAs, coupled with their penchant for diversion of revenue on recurrent expenditure under frivolous excuses,” he said.
Adeola said that the National Assembly would not tolerate unauthorised expenditure by the ministry of finance or agencies of government not backed by law or relevant acts of the National Assembly guiding such expenditure.
He said that every expenditure must henceforth be in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other applicable laws in Nigeria.
“Reports show that over the years, the Federal Government has not been able to surpass 30 per cent of its revenue targets.
“This has resulted in low level of budget implementation for critical capital projects.
“We need to reverse this trend. Indeed, we intend to introduce quarterly review of targets so that needed revenue can come to the federal purse” he stated.
The senator noted that the flagrant use of financial regulations issued by the ministry of finance and MDAs to direct spending would no longer be tolerated.
This, he said, was at variance with the laws enacted by the National Assembly and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has said that Nigeria ranks 146 out of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business globally.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ms Yewande Sadiku, said this while delivering a lecture at the 43rd Annual Conference and Dinner of The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), on Thursday in Lagos.
The Conference was tagged, “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Role of Regulatory Agencies.’’
Sadiku, who was represented by Mr. Mutawalli Kukawa, Acting Director, Investment Relations, NIPC, said the ranking was carried out by the World Bank.
In the report which was presented at the lecture, Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business, the nation’s score improved by 1.37 points from 51.52 distance to frontier (DTF) in 2018 to 52.89 in 2019.
She added that the Commission had adopted some proactive strategies geared towards improving Nigeria’s Investment Promotion, thereby helping to create an ease in doing business.
“The Proactive Investment Promotion strategies include focusing on key strategic partners and countries, identifying high impact sectors, better balance investors’ rights with obligations, improving investor experience and using feedback to develop the business environment.’’
Others are: proactively inviting target companies to Nigeria and hand-holding them through decision making and the implementation process, and encouraging more Nigerians to invest in the country.
“We encourage states to develop investment promotion agencies, so that they will be specifically charged with the responsibility of promoting the states,’’ she said.
Sadiku, however, cautioned investors to ensure that they abide by the relevant investment laws in the nation.
She urged government to enable investors so they can create more jobs that will have a significant impact on the economy.
Earlier, the President of ICSAN, Mr Bode Ayeku, said the theme of this year’s Conference tagged, “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Role of Regulatory Agencies,’’ was part of the institute’s contribution to the development of the economy.
“Ease of doing business is very relevant at this stage of our socioeconomic development, getting it right will enable us to make significant progress towards achieving the much sought after diversified and inclusive economy,’’ he said.
Ayeku, however, noted that the existing bottlenecks in setting up businesses would create a loss of foreign investments to other nations with more attractive and business friendly procedural regulations.
The president pledged the support of the Institute to work with relevant stakeholders in achieving government’s vision, to be among the top 100 countries in World Bank’s Doing Business Index by 2020.
Mr. Wole Abayomi, Head of Tax, Regulatory and Peoples’ Services, KPMG Nigeria, said lack of professionalism was one of the challenges in promoting the ease of doing business.
He said for Nigeria to enjoy a hitch-free business environment, professionals and professionalism must be entrenched from the top down to the players in the business world.
Abayomi said the Nigerian business environment can only be conducive only if a crop of personnel at every regulatory agency are professionals in their respective disciplines and organisations.
“One cannot give what one does not have, we must reject all manner of cronyism and enforce meritocracy, so both the public and private sector must pursue professionalism.
“It’s expected that personnel of repute who know their onions be in the vanguard of making those laws and regulations that would impact positively on the economy, this must start with the people in electing their leaders and our leaders appointing competent people into strategic sectors,’’ he said.