As Osinbajo decries report revealing corruption in regulatory agencies
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
To deepen reforms in Nigeria’s business environment, the Federal Government has resolved that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Heads of some regulatory agencies in the country be presented with the outcome of a recent survey that exposes major pitfalls in the operations of the agencies.
Specifically, the Cost of Compliance Report presented to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) at its first virtual meeting on Tuesday revealed persistent corruption, the duplicity of functions, poor service orientation, and several anti-business disposition in some of the regulatory agencies.
The Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who presided over the meeting directed that CEOs and heads of such government regulatory agencies involved should be presented with the outcomes and interaction should take place regarding some of the worrying disclosures in the report of the survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, PwC.
The Vice President said the report revealed human issues that were not unavoidable, stressing that the important roles regulatory agencies play in ensuring businesses are able to thrive seamlessly without inhibition.
He said doing otherwise would only jeopardize the government’s efforts in creating a conducive business environment.
According to him, “if the environment on account of regulatory authorities is so difficult or expensive, such that people are discouraged or it doesn’t make sense for people to do business, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot in a manner we can only blame ourselves. These are human issues and we must do something very serious about these issues.”
Speaking further about holding those responsible for the major lapses to account, the Vice President said, “I am in full support of holding our CEOs to account because they, in turn, must hold their staff to account. If there is systemic corruption, bribery and extortion, and nobody is held to account, there is a problem.”
Prof Osinbajo further stated that, the plans of the Federal Government in growing the economy and changing the lives and livelihood of Nigerians for the better was largely dependent on the business environment in which they operate.
He said, “Every one of our plans around sustaining economic growth, improving job creation and opportunities, whatever it is that we plan to do to make life better for the citizens, depends entirely on the environment in which people have to do business.
“It determines whether they will invest their resources, expand their businesses, and it just determines practically everything.”
Others present at the PEBEC meeting include the Ministers of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the Vice Chairman of PEBEC; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Budget and National Planning (State), Clem Abga; Special Adviser on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, and Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, representing the National Assembly among other top government officials and representatives from PwC.
Members of PEBEC also condoled with Dr. Oduwole on the death of her father, former Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof Afolabi Olumide who passed away recently.
A statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice president, Laolu Akande on Wednesday, said Otunba Adebayo who spoke on behalf of PEBEC prayed God to grant the Council Secretary and the entire family the fortitude to bear the loss.