Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ease of Doing Business Documentary Screening Assessment


Not it's not my picture, don't worry. LOL. It's the picture of the Hon. Minister of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah.

Remember I had blogged that I would be attending this event in the #EventfulFridays Post. I also attended the Abuja Stakeholders Forum on the Ease of Doing Business organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council and these were precursors to this very event to also allow private sector individuals to see the achievements made and also air their views and share their experiences of doing business in Nigeria with the Hon. Minister, Okechukwu, Enelamah and the Hon. Minister of State,  Mrs Aisha Abubakar who were part of a panel that discussed the different issues with private sector stakeholders and the members of the press.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS SCREENING


The Special Adviser to the Hon. Minister , Constance Ikokwu gave the opening remarks and welcomed the representatives from the MDA's, The Private Sector stakeholders and the members of the Press.

I came in as a press member, I feel like I have blown as a blogger. I never hexperred it.


The documentary series quickly kicked off afterwards.

( I tweeted about the event live whilst watching, or rather, trying to watch the video)


The documentary started to explain how difficult it was to do business in Nigeria stating particularly the fact that we were rated 169th out of 190 countries in the World's Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. It stated the drive by the government to drive the economy away from an over dependence on oil revenues by diversifying into the agriculture, renewable energy, the services industry and the digital economy sectors.


The government realized that Nigerian sugar manufacturers were importing their raw sugar inputs from Brazil and decided to bolster that value chain by supporting companies and rural farmers around the Plains of the River Niger and Benue to grow SugarCane and process them into sugar inputs for the sugar manufacturers. The government has also helped to boost the Industrial sector by supporting Innoson Group and reviving old car industrial plants through the activities of the Bank of Industry to buy machinery that are geared towards increasing volume of production of cars as well as creating jobs for the Youth.


The government have worked to support MSME's that are producing "Made in Nigeria" product in an effort to support the "BuyNaija" campaign. They have also seen the need to create an enabling environment for e-commerce businesses and other businesses in the digital economy business and are currently working to reduce tariffs to reduce their barriers to internet access in the country.


The Federal Government iterated the four strategies for growing the Nigerian Economy.

1. Reduce bottlenecks thereby making it easier to do business in Nigeria.
2. Boost Industrialization
3. Support the MSME sector to increase capacity to create jobs.
4. Foster local and international investment into the country.


To see more tweets from the event. Take a look at this Ease of Doing Business Twitter Thread.

Q & A SESSION WITH THE MINISTER AND MINISTER OF STATE

The Press and the Private sectors were given the opportunity to parley and share ideas with the Minister on challenges and ideas as to how to make Nigeria an easier place to do business.

I am just going to take the top 4 questions and the responses by the Ministers to those questions.

1. An Entrepreneur in the charcoal and the leather industry asked about what the government were doing in terms of creating the appropriate export environment.

R. The ministers responded that it was not a one-time process. It requires creating a market for those products, assessing the products to ensure that they are of international standards and ensuring that the production can meet demand and all these processes do take time.. It was also iterated that the "Office for Trade Negotiations" was opened to enable develop a ready market for the export of "Made in Nigeria" products.The Hon. Minister showed interest in meeting with the Entrepreneur.


Who knows how much time it would take, and their tenure would soon come to an end.

2. In the capacity of a Press member cum Private Sector stakeholder I asked about what the government was doing in the area of multiple taxation or levying across the Federal, State and Local Government levels. I also stressed on the need to have a one stop shop for information for Private sector stakeholders to know what levies, fees etc that they would be required to pay and the MDA's that they are to liaise with to carry out their businesses effectively.

R. The Ministers stated the fact that it was brought up in the Industrial Council and it wasn't just MSME's that were suffering from the menace but also big companies. It was presented to the National Economic Council Meeting and they had had meetings with the Governors Forum and they were working out ways to streamline the taxation scheme that would be mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders (governments and private sector). It was also stated that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) were putting in work to ensure that all taxes were paid directly to them and then disbursed to the various states and MDA's issued those taxes/levies. This is in view to make doing business in Nigeria easier.
The ministers stated the need for an interface to have all these information published and are willing to collaborate with the private sector to create a platform that such information can be published.

Private sector individuals and I am sure the Ministers themselves did not exude much hope in this regard.



3. A lady asked what plans do the government have for supporting Entrepreneurs with Disability, as they have been refused to have meetings with the Hon. Minister on multiple occasions on their different proposals.

R. The Minister said that he was happy to meet with them because their ideas and their thoughts were valid and it would be important to talk with them and listen to them as it would be good for the government to also engage with Entrepreneurs with Disability on their different projects.


We can only hope that the meeting would hold and yield positive results. 

4. A member of the press asked a question on the MSME Clinics launched by the Vice President and how many businesses have those clinics assisted with growth?

R. In a classic style, they said that the number of businesses supported by the clinics cannot be stated at this present time but that the government is focused on creating the enabling environment for MSME's.


It is important to know this information o, but to avoid stress, I will not 'press' further.


PS: They were other interesting questions and responses from the Ministers, if you really wanted to find out, you should have attended the meeting, my fingers were paining me. LOL.

IN ADDITION

There was a panel of successful Entrepreneurs from the construction industry, the services industry and  the dairy industry that spoke about how they grew their businesses despite the environment Nigeria provides for doing business.

I was particular interested in Ene Adaji's Story as she was able to scale as an architect in the construction industry and grow a formidable construction company, IAandGPartners. As a trained Civil Engineer, I had tried to scale similarly to the way she did, but encountered problems in identifying and tapping into the market that readily required my skills and services. No wonder I refocused towards the digital economy hoping to return into the real estate sector when I make it big. LOL.




ENJOYMENT TIME!

They brought Styl-Plus to jig everyone up. To lift our spirits after sharing all the many many bottlenecks that Nigeria presents to us as Entrepreneurs.


We cannot come and kill ourselves. We must enjoy our lives small. LOL.


Constance Ikokwu, the Special Adviser to the Hon. Minister gave the closing remarks and the event came to a close.

But as the Minister of Food and Drink Resources, my event was not complete without refreshments!

The croissants were the bomb! This was my face when I saw what they were offering....



EVENT ASSESSMENT

I spoke with one of the attendants, Jude Akonam on his thoughts on the event which he got to know about the event and attended as a result of reading the #EventfulFridays Post that was published a couple days ago. He explained that most Nigerians play the "lack of connections" card because they are not informed about the different opportunities that are available to grow and support their small businesses as well as implement their business ideas. He was also exposed to the opportunities to network and learn from experts across various fields and it has bolstered his plans to set up his agro-allied business.




Thank you for reading,

Best regards,
Ejieji Muna
(HubbonNG)








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