President Muhammadu Buhari, has identified trade and investment facilitation to generate resources for sustainable development; ease of doing business and regional integration that expands markets with safeguards against injurious trade practices from third parties; and more inclusive growth with the empowerment of women and youths, as factors that can enhance business, among Commonwealth countries easier.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement said, Buhari said this at the Commonwealth Business Forum at Guildhall, London. The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) with the theme, “Making Business Easier between Commonwealth Countries” came as part of events at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting (CHOGM- 25).
According to the President, provision of a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), a radical expansion of human capital for the 21st Century, what is now known as “knowledge economy”; and provision of hard and software infrastructure for the 21st Century digital economy to boost e-commerce, increase efficiency, solve development problems and enhance cyber security, are the other factors necessary for an easier business environment.
Buhari said Nigeria had already started championing this course with events such as the “High Level Trade and Investment Facilitation Forum for Development” convened by the government in November 2017 in Abuja in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The Abuja statement from this forum, “Deepening Africa’s Integration in the Global Economy through Trade and Investment Facilitation for Development,” has become a global and multilateral reference point. We believe that the Commonwealth should lend its support to these types of activities, as a sound model for making business easier among Commonwealth countries.
“To underscore Nigeria’s commitment to spreading prosperity throughout the Commonwealth, in the past six months, Nigeria co-chaired with the United Kingdom, the ‘UK All-Parliamentary Group for Trade out of Poverty’ (APPG-TOP). The report of this Commonwealth Inquiry Report was launched on April 3, 2018.
“Nigeria affirms its commitment to the principal message from this Commonwealth Inquiry Group that Nigeria co-chaired with the UK. The surest, most sustainable way to lift millions of people out of poverty across the Commonwealth is through boosting trade and investment. We believe that we as leaders in the Commonwealth should grasp the opportunity and agree on a major new focus on trade and investment for inclusive development.”
He also shared the experiences of Nigeria regarding ongoing deep and extensive ‘ease of doing business’ reforms, which are being staged under a 60-day National Action Plan.
According to the President, “Stage 1 focuses on eight areas that make it easier to register businesses, obtain construction permits, get credit, pay taxes, have electricity, trade across borders, facilitate entry and exit of people and register property. These reforms were codified in an Executive Order. Transparency and efficiency across government was mandated and made enforceable.