Accountability and transparency are two elements that are necessary in any business environment for stakeholder satisfaction, and to maintain the interest of investors. Oyeniyi Immanuel takes a look at one tool PEBEC is using to achieve these objectives.
By Oyeniyi Immanuel
The Federal Government, through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has set up a portal (via a website and mobile application) through which stakeholders in the Nigerian business environment can send in complaints and give feedback on their interactions with over 20 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government. And that number is growing.
The portal, called reportgov.ng, is accessible via a mobile application of the same name and a website – www.reportgov.ng.
Reportgov.ng is Nigeria’s official public service complaint portal for complaints and feedback for the service delivery of any government Ministries, Department and Agency MDA.
It has been operational as a web-based platform since 2017 and was the winning entry in a hackathon featuring 60 Nigerian techpreneurs. Taking it up a notch to drive adoption and use, the mobile app was launched in March 2019.
While it may still be too early to determine the effect of the platform on the business environment, one must applaud the initiative of PEBEC in wanting to be held accountable for its activities and the drive to ensure that the MDAs, whose activities the PEBEC was set up to streamline, are policed as well.
Transparency and accountability are two things that Nigerians, particularly those in business, desire from those in governance.
While preparing for this piece, I used the mobile application by sending in two complaints I had in the course of my dealings with the Trademarks Registry and I received feedback on the same day.
Even though the issues have not been completely resolved, it is refreshing to have a responsive agency, more so when you can reach them via convenient means. The platform even allows you to attach documents to support your complaint or feedback.
To ensure a quick turnaround time on issues, the President himself mandated all ministries, departments and agencies to attend to complaints within 72 hours.
The portal also provides a monthly score-sheet for the MDAs, tracking those who resolve their tickets as quickly as possible. As at when this article was being written, the Corporate Affairs Commission was in the lead in the month of March 2019, resolving 100% of issues raised.
One of the interesting features of the portal is that one cannot make an anonymous report. It is not a whistle-blowing platform, but an avenue to collaborate with the government in ensuring that change is actually delivered in a timely manner.
Without prejudice to my good experience with the platform and my admiration for PEBEC’s achievements thus far, one wonders about the sustainability of the platform beyond the tenure of its creators, particularly when the number of users grow exponentially.
Granted, it is still early days, but it is necessary at the point of setting up a structure or initiative, that the means of ensuring sustainability of same is woven into the structure.
Perhaps, the idea of backing up PEBEC by means of enabling legislation which will require a more elaborate procedure to be overturned (as opposed to an executive order which can be changed by a subsequent executive order) or an Act enabling and requiring the periodic collection and publication of all executive orders should be considered.
Here’s to making doing business in Nigeria easy!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.
Oyeniyi Immanuel is a Corporate and Transactions lawyer with Streamsowers & Kohn; a full-service law firm with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. He is also the Legal Adviser to individual and corporate clients with demonstrated experience across stated sectors with a knack for combining lateral thinking and industry knowledge with leadership abilities to achieve clients' objectives and support business development.