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EoDB: How Tinubu creates pathways for businesses to flourish in Nigeria –Minister

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Honourable Minister for Information and National Orientation (3rd from left) at the Forum with Business Community in Kano State Photo: State House

*Mohammed Idris, Minister for Information and National Orientation, explains how President Tinubu administration’s macroeconomic policies have begun to yield fruits through the sustained appreciation of the Naira, stability in the economy, and recent clearing of $7billion Foreign Exchange backlogs by the Central Bank of Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Honourable Minister for Information and National Orientation, has said the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to create an enabling environment where businesses can thrive through streamlining regulations, investment incentives, provision of infrastructure, and robust policies aimed at fostering economic stability and prosperity.

Idris stated this at a Town Hall meeting held with the business community Friday, March 22, 2024, in Kano, Northern Nigeria.

The Minister said: “As part of the Ease of Doing Business, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has been mandated to operate a 24-hour online registration timeline for new businesses.

“To ensure that Nigeria retains more foreign exchange from its exports, the Export Permit application process is being revised and automated.

“Intending exporters will now have to show genuine proof of formal repatriation of export proceeds before new export licenses and permits are granted.”

Rafiu Ibrahim, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Friday stated Alhaji Idris disclosed the reconstituted Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), is working closely with State Governments to eliminate the bottlenecks businesses face in Nigeria.

Other measures to reposition the Nigerian economy, by Idris

The new Executive Order (EO), which President Tinubu has signed, will unlock the huge potential in the country’s oil and gas industry by bringing down operating costs for oil and gas operations in Nigeria, stated the Minister.

Idris noted such operating costs currently, stand at 40 percent – higher than the global average and compressing oil and gas contracting cycle from 38 months to 6 months.

The Minister further explained: “It will generate a billion cubic feet per day additional gas supply, create 2.3 million jobs, and boost GDP by $17 Billion.

“The new tax incentives being implemented have the potential to attract up to $10 Billion in new oil and gas investment.”

The Federal Government said through enhanced security measures across the Niger Delta region, the NLNG cargoes had increased from an average of 16 cargoes, in 2023, to 21 cargoes in the first quarter of 2024, while crude oil production had risen from 1.22 million barrels per day in the second quarter of 2023 to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in the First Quarter (Q1) of 2024.

According to him, a deliberate effort to boost Industrialisation, the Federal Government issued Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) letters of recommendation to 20 manufacturers for expansion and enhanced production capacity.

The Minister noted that the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalisation is currently working on the framework to implement a well-structured and functioning consumer credit system in line with global best practices.

He also stated: “The Federal Government is reconstituting the National Trade Facilitation Committee, which convenes various relevant agencies and private sector representatives (under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment), to resolve and remove administrative and operational bottlenecks facing domestic and external trade in the country.”

Idris as well reeled off the post-subsidy interventions for the business community to include approval for the release of 200 billion Naira for the Presidential Business Grants and Loans Schemes; 50 Billion Naira Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme (PCGS) for traders, food vendors, transport workers, ICT businesses, creatives, and artisans, as part of interventions to cushion the effect of the removal of petrol subsidies; the 75 Billion Naira FGN MSME Intervention Fund with single-digit-interest loans to MSMEs and the 75 Billion Naira FGN Manufacturing Sector Fund targeting manufacturing businesses, with selected beneficiaries eligible to access up to 1 billion Naira each.

On provision of critical infrastructure

In respect of the provision of critical infrastructure in the economy, Idris assured the Nigerian President is working assiduously to break the jinx in the power sector through the implementation of various policies.

He stated these include the speeding up of the injection of 12,000MW of electricity into the national grid in partnership with the Siemens Energy of Germany, and release of N40 billion for Mass Metering Programme across the country among others.

The Minister noted: “Work has commenced on the development of a new 20MW on-grid solar-hydro project, in Shiroro, Niger State, near the 600MW Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Plant. This 20MW plant is the first phase of a 300MW project.”

Idris said the macroeconomic policies of the President had begun to bear fruits through the sustained appreciation of the Naira, stability in the economy, and the clearing of the Foreign Exchange (Forex) backlog of $7 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Reforms yielding positive results in post-subsidy economy, says Minister

Speaking on the specific impacts of the current reforms, Alhaji Idris said the removal of the petrol subsidy was at the core of the President‘s economic reforms.

He stated that the measure has started to yield “positive results with the marked reduction in petrol importation to 50 percent monthly” – roughly a billion liters a month – since the petrol subsidy was removed June 2023.

Also speaking at the event in Kano, Alhaji Sabiu Bako, Chairman of Kano Business Community, commended President Tinubu for implementing some of the suggestions they made while he was on the campaign trail to Kano last year.

Bako affirmed the Kano Business Community wholeheartedly supports the removal of fuel subsidy as it only benefited the upper class, and did very little to alleviate the economic burden faced by the majority of Nigerian consumers.

Participants in the town hall meeting canvassed for regular interactions with the government, review of some of the conditions attached to access intervention schemes, and the completion of the AKK Gas Pipeline Project, so that the terminal gas stations can be utilised in earnest.

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