(Sundiata Post) – The Federal Government has promised to dismantle what it called institutional hurdles to further promote ease of doing business in the country.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo made the promise on Tuesday in Abuja at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit.
In tackling one of these institutional hurdles, Osinbajo assured the business community that the incidence of multiple Customs checkpoints, especially along the eastern axis will be looked into to create a conducive investment climate in the country.
He said government has received several reports from concerned Nigerians “who describe the checkpoints as inimical to growth and development.”
Osinbajo also noted that plans are afoot “to dismantle all clearance bottlenecks at sea and airport borders to ensure quick facilitation. Government will implement reforms at the National Agency for Foods Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to make their operations quicker and more orderly.”
Speaking on financing infrastructure, he lamented that “our budget for this year is about N7 trillion. That is not enough to address all the infrastructure challenges we have and that is why we will always partner with the private sector to address them.”
He said the Buhari administration remained committed to partnering with the private sector to address the country’s infrastructure shortfall.
Osinbajo noted that “foreign exchange reserves have risen to about $33 billion and end users have increased access to foreign exchange partly due mainly to increased export earnings and remittances as well as the introduction of a dedicated transparent window for Investors and Exporters (NAFEX).”
The results he said, “have been encouraging as the inflows of capital in the second quarter of 2017 of about $1.8 billion were almost double the amount of $908 million imported in the first quarter of the year.”
Osinbajo added that the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will this month issue directives on independent metering. According to him, “the eligible customer regime allows a willing seller, willing buyer arrangements in the sale of power. While the independent metering directive allows independent entities aside from registered power distribution companies to sell and install meters to customers and be paid directly as collections are made from metered customers.”
This he said will break the distribution gridlock and there is good cause to believe that we will achieve the 10,000Mw envisaged in the ERGP.”
On the concerns of high interest rate, Osinbajo pointed out that government is “concerned as most of you are, with the very high interest rates and of course most of that have to do with government borrowing. Since the evidence points to a crowding out of the private sector, the Federal Government is reducing its demand for domestic paper and will seek to refinance maturing domestic debt with longer tenor and cheaper external borrowing.”
Osinbajo assured the gathering of private sector players that, “intervention funds will continue to be made available through the Bank of Industry, and repositioned NEXIM and Bank of Agriculture and the newly established Development Bank of Nigeria.”
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