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Osinbajo to State Govts: Your Hardwork Critical for Business Reforms to Thrive

todayAugust 17, 2022

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•Presidential council proposes disbursement of $750m to states from January, 2023

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday posited that state governments and their agencies have a significant role to play in ensuring an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.

Osinbajo, according to a release issued by his media aide, Laolu Akande, spoke at a virtual meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) where he stressed that for all who are charged with responsibilities at the State level, they have  their work cut out for them. 

According to the Vice President: “If we are going to have the kind of business environment that our country deserves and that can make a difference for our economy, it is the hard work at the sub-national level that would really move the needle.”

He added that “the States’ process is a very important one and I hope that we will be able to spend individually, especially in the States, a fair amount of time trying to work out how this will work in actual practice in our various States.”

Osinbajo then noted that at the Federal level, it has been a major challenge trying to coordinate agencies and parastatals.

At the virtual meeting, a presentation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Programme coordinated by the secretariat and the World Bank was discussed.

The SABER Program is a three-year (Jan 2023 – Dec 2025) performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat.

The purpose is to incentivize and strengthen the implementation of business enabling reforms in Nigeria specifically across the participating States of the Federation and the FCT.

Earlier in her remarks, the Special Adviser on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary of PEBEC, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, stated that there has been collaboration for over two years in conceptualizing the SABER Program, adding that “it is the first programme of this size that the World Bank is embarking on at this scale globally.”

She explained that the program is a $750million operation comprising two main areas – $730million Program-for-Results Financing (PforR) component and $20million technical assistance for investment project financing.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed had before now made a formal request to the World Bank for the preparation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Program with Government Partners.

This was after a request came from PEBEC, through its Vice Chairman, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, asking for the World Bank’s support for deepening ease of doing business reforms at the sub-national level.

The four main objectives of PEBEC–NEC Ease of Doing Business intervention are:

“Deepen subnational business-enabling reforms through SABER program incentives, using result-based financing targeted at improving the business environment.

“Deliver technical assistance to all states to support gaps in reform implementation and provide opportunities for structural development and institutionalisation of reforms across the country leveraging the PEBEC-NEC implementation structure.

“Ride on the back of State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, which has created a mutual accountability platform between the Federal Government and the States. The SABER will further consolidate and deepen gains from EoDB reforms implemented across the country.

“Facilitate crowding-in private investments at scale, a key requirement for the achievement of Nigeria’s development priorities.”

Those present at the virtual PEBEC meeting include some of the Chairpersons of the Ease of Doing Business Council in various States across the country including Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Deputy Governors of Abia, Cross River and Kaduna; Secretary to Anambra State Government; Federal Ministers who are members of the commission including the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Foreign Affairs , Geoffrey Onyeama.

Other present were the Commissioners of Finance and Economic Development in Ekiti and Ogun, representatives of Governors, other Senior Government Officials as well as the World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Mr. Shubaham Chaudhuri.

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todayAugust 17, 2022

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