President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (“the Business Facilitation Act” or “the Act”) into law on the 14th of February 2023. The bill (now an Act) is an initiative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (“PEBEC”) charged with the responsibility of easing bureaucratic constraints and bottlenecks in doing business in Nigeria.
The eleven (11) sections of the Act highlight key changes in the Nigerian business sector, to be facilitated by improved transparency, reduction in regulatory bottlenecks and easy business registration. The law highlights some key elements designed to ensure this outcome. They include the following:
- The Act mandates all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to publish a complete and comprehensive list of requirements to obtain the products and services of such MDA, including permits and licenses. Thus, whenever there is conflict between a published list of requirements and an unpublished list, the published list shall prevail.
- Whenever an applicant makes an application to an MDA, and such MDA refuses or neglects to communicate approval or rejection within the stipulated time, such application shall be deemed approved.
- Section 5 of the Act introduces “One Government”. One Government is a programme aimed at ensuring seamless service delivery across MDAs in record time. This programme provides fast solution to applicants who require services between two or more MDAs by ensuring the collaboration of the agencies internal processes towards the delivery of products and services. One Government is like a one-stop shop that provides seamless service across several MDAs whenever an applicant’s requirements cut across different MDAs.
- The Act stipulates that MDAs should embed a Service Level Agreement (“SLA”) in their processes. The SLA will serve as contract between the MDA and each applicant. When signed, it will be binding on both parties, and will ensure products and services are delivered at the agreed time.
- The Act mandates Ports to run a 24-hour operation. This is aimed at improving their profitability and eliminate losses incurred in the past due to Nigerian ports not operating at night.
The Act also contains a Schedule which is divided into twenty-one parts; each part amends a statute relating to the Nigerian Business sector. Below are the amended statutes:
- Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020
- Nigeria Export Promotion Council Act Cap N117 LFN 2004
- Export Prohibition Act Cap E22 LFN 2004
- Investment and Securities Act 2007
- Industrial Inspectorate Act Cap I8 LFN 2004
- Nigeria Port Authority Act Cap N126 LFN 2004
- Patent and Designs Act Cap P2 LFN 2004
- Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004
- Financial Reporting Act 2011
- Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act Cap F34 LFN 2004
- Immigration Act Cap I1 LFN 2004
- Industrial Training Fund Act Cap I9 LFN 2004
- National Housing Funds Act Cap N45 LFN 2004
- National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion Act Cap N68 LFN 2004
- National Planning Commission Act Cap N66 LFN 2004
- Nigerian Customs Service Board Act Cap N100 LFN 2004
- Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act Cap N117 LFN 2004
- Nigeria Oil and Gas Content Development Act Cap N124A LFN 2004
- Pension Reform Act Cap P4 LFN 2004
- Standard Organisation of Nigeria Act Cap S9 LFN 2004
- Trade Mark Act Cap T13 LFN 2004
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) did an amazing job coordinating the Business Facilitation Act. The implementation of the law will provide seamless business environment while guaranteeing more ease in doing business in Nigeria.
Access an electronic copy of the Business Facilitation Act here to read up on the Bill.
For enquiries regarding this update and other areas of law, please contact:
Suite 201, SPAACO House,
27A Macarthy Street, Onikan.
P. O. Box 80373, Lafiaji, Lagos.
+234 1 4605091; +234 1 2703009