A Review of the Nigerian business facilitation Act

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act was signed into law on 14 February, 2023. The Act is a new legislation that has generated tons of debate in the Nigerian business community. The Act seeks to provide a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Nigeria and to generally improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, by simplifying processes, reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks and ensuring transparency in government transactions. 

This article seeks to review the provisions of the Act, highlight its potential impact on businesses in Nigeria, and evaluate its overall effectiveness in achieving its stated objectives.

Simplifying processes and reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks

One of the key objectives of the Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 is to simplify processes and procedures for businesses in Nigeria. The Act seeks to streamline the registration and licensing of businesses, reduce the time and cost of obtaining permits and approvals, and eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks that often hinder business growth.

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 is a legislation that seeks to simplify processes and procedures for businesses in Nigeria. It aims to provide a more conducive business environment that will attract local and foreign investments and spur economic growth. The Act is a response to the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria due to bureaucratic bottlenecks, corruption, and other factors that make doing business difficult.

The Act establishes a One-Stop-Shop for the registration of businesses, which will enable investors to complete all necessary registration procedures in one location. This will save time and reduce the cost of registering a business in Nigeria.

Provisions relating to ministries, departments, and agencies of the federal government (MDAs)

One of the major provisions of the Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 is the establishment of a Business Facilitation Unit in each ministry, department and agency (MDA) of the federal government. The Unit is tasked with ensuring that all business-related activities in the MDA are carried out in a timely and efficient manner.

This provision is aimed at reducing the time it takes to obtain licenses, permits, and approvals from MDAs. The Act also requires MDAs to maintain an up-to-date database of all businesses operating within their jurisdiction. This database is to be made available to the public, and it will help to streamline the regulatory process and reduce the time it takes to obtain licenses and permits.

Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (“CAMA”)

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 complements the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (“CAMA”). CAMA is the primary legislation regulating the incorporation, registration, and operation of companies in Nigeria.Prior to the introduction of this amendment, it was only possible for a company to increase its share capital during a general meeting.

However, the amendment now allows a company to increase its shares by means of a board resolution as well. The act  has also updated the list of foreign companies that are not required to incorporate a Nigerian entity to operate in Nigeria by including foreign companies that are exempted under any other current Act of the National Assembly to the said list.

Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA)

The Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) is the primary legislation governing the import and export of goods in Nigeria. The Act provides for the establishment of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as the regulatory body responsible for the implementation of CEMA.

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 requires the NCS to process all import and export documents within 48 hours. This provision aims to reduce the time it takes to clear goods at ports and borders, which is currently one of the major challenges confronting Nigerian importers and exporters.

Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (“Foreign Exchange Act”)

Before the enactment of the Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023, Section 6(1) of the relevant legislation empowered the Central Bank of Nigeria to revoke the appointment of an Authorized Dealer or an Authorized Buyer based on national interest.

However, the Act has brought about an amendment to this provision by substituting the ground of national interest with a list of twelve (12) alternative grounds, including failure to utilize the license within thirty (30) days.

Industrial inspection Act

The Industrial Inspection Act is the primary legislation governing the inspection of industrial facilities in Nigeria. The Act provides for the establishment of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as the regulatory body responsible for the implementation of the Act.

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 mandates SON to ensure that all inspections of industrial facilities are carried out within 48 hours of the request. This provision is aimed at reducing the time it takes to obtain inspection certificates, which is currently one of the major challenges faced by businesses operating in the country.

Investment and securities Act (“ISA”)

The Investment and Securities Act is the primary legislation governing the regulation of the Nigerian capital market. The Act provides for the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the regulatory body responsible for the implementation of the Act.

Amendment of Section 67 of the ISA now allows private companies to allot its securities to the public through any lawful means as the Securities and Exchange Commission may prescribe by regulation.

National housing fund act

The Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 has modified the reference to “basic salary of N3,000” to “minimum wage” and stipulates that moving forward, individuals earning the minimum wage shall remit 2.5% of their monthly income to the Fund.

The National Housing Fund Act is the primary legislation governing the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria. The Act provides for the establishment of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) as the regulatory body responsible for the implementation of the Act. 

Conclusion

Nigerian Business Facilitation Act 2023 is a welcome development that has the potential to significantly improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Its provisions, if implemented effectively, will simplify processes and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, making it easier for them to operate in Nigeria.

However, the success of the Act will depend on its effective implementation and enforcement, as well as the willingness of government officials to adhere to its provisions. Overall, the Act represents a step in the right direction towards creating a more conducive business environment in Nigeria, and it is hoped that it will be a catalyst for increased investment and economic growth in the country.

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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