- R-L: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Programme Director of IshK Tolaram Foundation, Ms. Neha Mehra, and the Programme Manager of the Foundation, Ms. Laura Ede, while conducting the Minister round the Limb Centre of the Foundation in Lagos on Monday.*
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has implemented over 150 reforms, moving Nigeria up 39 places on the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016.
The Minister, who disclosed this during a visit to the IshK Tolaram Foundation in Lagos on Monday, said the reforms were also responsible for Nigeria being twice named as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world over the last three years – one of only two African countries to make this highly-prestigious list in 2019
.“To understand the significance of Nigeria moving up in the World Bank Doing Business Index, we have to recall that between 2007 and 2015, Nigeria lost 64 places in the World Bank ease of doing business ranking,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said as a result of the reforms, the 2018 Subnational Doing Business report on Nigeria recorded unprecedented improvement, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), in its 2018 Global Competitive Report, recognized Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world, and highlighted Nigeria’s improvedcompetitiveness in the enabling business environment.
He also said the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020), signed by President Muhammadu Buhari – Nigeria’s most significant business legislation in three decades – introduced at least 15 new provisions that promote ease of doing business and reduce regulatory hurdles in Nigeria.
The Minister said PEBEC also collaborated with the National Assembly on the Secured Transaction in Movable Asset Act (STMA), 2017 and the Credit Reporting Act, 2017, which provides a legal framework for collateralization of moveable assets with the creation of the National Collateral Registry, while CRA 2017 enhances credit reporting in Nigeria.
“The Creation of a National Collateral Registry (NCR) of movable assets by the Central Bank of Nigeria, with the support of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), in May 2016 ensures that functional equivalents of collaterals can be registered. To date, over N1 trillion assets have been uploaded on the Registry,” he said.
Others reforms listed by the Minister include visa on arrival for business people, reduction in the time it takes to register a company at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – through the Company Registration Portal (CRP) – from about two weeks to just a few days – and the introduction of the electronic filing and payment of federal taxes. Alhaji Mohammed commended the IshK Tolaram Foundation for its programmes in Nigeria, especially in the areas of healthcare as well as entrepreneurial and vocational training, saying the artificial limbs provided free of charge has inspired hope for the beneficiaries.
“I am reliably informed that the Foundation, through its IshK Limb Centres in Lagos and Port Harcourt, and mobile camps, has provided more than 19,000 free prosthetic limbs. I am also aware that 242 students have graduated from the Foundation’s vocational skills training programme while 157 have started earning their livelihood through jobs and start-ups. This is quite impressive and I congratulate the IshK Foundation for this feat,” he said.
The Programme Director of ISHK Foundation, Ms. Neha Mehra, who conducted the Minister round the Lagos centre, said the foundation, which is funded with 25 percent of the profit from the Tolaram Group,was set up as the next step in a 100-year history of philanthropy at Tolaram. She said the Foundation partners with churches, mosques, hospitals and NGOs to identify and support people requiring artificial limbs free ofcharge.
Some of the beneficiaries of the Foundation’s activities were on hand to brief the Minister of how the quality of their lives has been enhanced by such activities.