WIMBIZ focuses on ease of doing business at CEO/Policy Maker Forum
Chief Executive Officers and Policy Makers across a broad range of sectors on Tuesday gathered for the 2017 edition of the WIMBIZ CEO/Policy Maker Interactive Breakfast Series at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The theme of the forum “Ease of Doing Business: A Policy Dialogue on Regulations” spotlighted the critical issues with starting and running a successful business in Nigeria. It stimulated open and broad dialogue between CEOs, policy makers and practitioners with a focus on key business enablers including, Transparency in Business Regulations; Harmonization of Taxes; Power and Infrastructure.
The forum, which had in attendance over 100 CEOs and policymakers, was moderated by Mr. Seyi Bickersteth, Former Chairman KPMG Africa, and featured speakers such as Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, MD Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, Chairman, LaFarge, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Head of Tax and Regulatory Services PwC; Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, MD Rural Electrification Agency and Mr. Bola Onadele, MD, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.
The panel discussion and floor contributions were very robust with focus on several issues such as the Nigerian Regulatory Environment; Port Operations and the recent Executive Orders; the current realities with the Privatization of Power; Alternative Sources of Power for Businesses; The Role of Tax in driving the Economy; How the Foreign Exchange System can be structured to boost Foreign Investment and National Maritime Security Strategy.
Seyi Bickersteth in opening the discussions charged the speakers and audience to focus not only on the ideas but also on execution. According to Hadiza Bala Usman, government and its agencies were committed to implementing the Executive Orders aimed at enabling business. “Plans are underway to provide 24-hour port operation services in Apapa and implement initiatives that will ensure that other port related government agencies are mandated to have a shift system ensuring 24-hour service.”
Damilola Ogunbiyi assured the forum that every agency in the power sector was actively working together and being held accountable for their actions with consequences. Taiwo Oyedele, while highlighting issues with multiplicity of taxes, reminded the forum that tax was not an isolated issue.
According to him: “If businesses are not thriving and individuals have no income, there is nothing to tax, thus these issues need to be addressed at a policy level.”
Bola Onadele spotlighted the need to create an enabling environment for capital markets and deploy capital appropriately with attention paid to ease of repatriation to ensure the country attracts much needed investment. Bolaji Balogun highlighted the three key areas of concern for businesses; namely infrastructure, power and access to finance, particularly for women. He urged the private sector to contribute to infrastructure funding, stating that government alone cannot fund infrastructure projects.
Expressing satisfaction with the proceedings Aishah Ahmad stated: “We are very pleased to stimulate in-depth discussion on Ease of Doing Business through this unique gathering of influential business leaders and policy makers. It was gratifying to hear practical insights – rightly focused on improving execution and collaboration – on a topic that has taken center stage on the journey to ensure Nigerian businesses are globally competitive.”
The Annual CEO/Policy Maker Interactive series is an advocacy initiative that brings together decision makers to address pressing business, social and economic issues that affect women and their contributions to nation building.
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