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A Review of PEBEC’s Activities: A Big Business Starts Small

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A Review of PEBEC’s Activities

By Modupe Odele

It is an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to write the Executive Summary of this special edition which highlights the work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

In July 2016, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council was established to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda. An Executive Order was then signed on 18th of May 2017 by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), then Acting President. It was the first executive order of the administration, and its objective was to promote transparency and efficiency in the business climate in Nigeria.

An enabling business environment that is transparent and efficient is essential to the success of SMEs in any country. This is also essential for small businesses to eventually grow into bigger businesses. Many of our businesses in Nigeria remain micro businesses not out of choice but out of lack of an enabling environment to help them scale and thrive.

Another point to note is that MSMEs are closest to the people, so when we speak of solving those challenges that keep our people locked in poverty, MSMEs are a key resource to help us get there.

One of the articles featured speaks on how the middle market is being led by millennials and how we should ensure that an enabling environment is created for this middle market to thrive since it is the highest employer of labour locally. I am in total agreement.

The article also makes a good point of it being critical that that the reforms and initiatives towards improving the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) takes into consideration the millennial element of the middle market otherwise many of the reforms will miss their intended beneficiaries.

PEBEC seems to recognize this fact and as such is making good attempts to connect with this demographic. The agency recently launched a mobile application that citizens could download to send in complaints, opinions and suggestions as they deal with various Ministries Departments and Agencies. It will be interesting to see how PEBEC decides to use the data collected in its implementation strategy going forward.

I am particularly impressed with PEBECs chosen form of operation which is heavy on collaborations vertically and horizontally. PEBEC’s collaborations with the National Assembly resulted in the Companies and Allied Matters Bill which has now been passed by the House of Representatives.

As an article in this special feature pointed out, since the Companies and Allied Matters Act has not been updated in decades, so it is refreshing to see PEBEC start in motion the process of a new law to regulate the way corporations do business in Nigeria thereby bringing them in tune with today’s

realities. Some interesting introductions are the elimination of Authorized Share Capital and the introduction of legally compliant virtual meetings for private companies. All of these are welcome developments.

Additionally, collaborations with the Judiciary has led to the creation of Small Claims Courts and electronic access to Judgments. These Small Claims Courts will be instrumental in increasing lender confidence as the Courts were established to provide for the settlement of commercial disputes involving claims not exceeding Five Million Naira (N5,000,000 Naira). This will ensure that there is a fast-tracked process for the resolution of small debt recovery disputes. I’m excited to see how this plays out.

PEBEC’s also has collaborations with State Governments, private sector stakeholders and regulators in industries like health and finance to institute reforms that addresses stakeholders’ challenges. In the last three years, Nigeria has moved 24 places in the Ease of Doing Business World Bank Index, so these collaborations are yielding some results at the macro level. We now need to ensure that the reforms are yielding results at the granular level as well.

The reforms proposed in the article on the cost efficiency implications of PEBEC’s reforms are also to be taken seriously. While we recognize that administrative bottlenecks are a big concern for MSMEs, infrastructural deficits are also a huge headache for these businesses, so this is something PEBEC has to look into as well.

As you read the articles in this Special Features Edition, please consider that we are all stakeholders in making Nigeria an easier place to do business. So if you have suggestions or any information that will enable PEBEC carry it out its mandate more efficiently, do reach out to them.

At Scale My Hustle, we are a social enterprise that provides resources to Nigerian entrepreneurs to help them properly structure their business and courtesy our months of working with entrepreneurs at different stages of their business, we definitely have direct feedback that we will be passing on to PEBEC. Happy reading!

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.

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