By Christiana Ekpa
Senate yesterday began the process of reviewing some critical laws aimed at reducing the risk of doing business in Nigeria to revive the country’s economy.
This followed a one-day public hearing organized by it Committee on Trade and Investment on the bills to amend the companies and allied matters act, CAMA to provide for the incorporation of companies, registration of business names together with incorporation of trustees of certain companies, and another one for the establishment of state corporate affairs commissions for registration of business names and other matter.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, while declaring open the session, said “even if it means repealing all that we have been used to and starting on a new note, we must not shy away from doing what is best in the interest of our economy”.
Saraki maintained that CAMA has a role to play in trade and investment, especially in the efforts of the present administration at diversifying the economy.
“An amendment being sought from the first bill today is to provide a more conducive environment for the conduct of business in Nigeria.
“The bill will strengthen the functions of the board, propose a holistic amendment on fines and penalties in accordance with the current value of the Naira and vest powers on the Nigerian President to exempt foreign companies from certain provisions to attract investment.
“Another amend being proposed would develop a legal framework that would stimulate business innovation in various states and encourage the registration, regulation and growth of small businesses for Nigeria’s economy as revenues derived from levies and taxes are relatively low”, he stressed.
Earlier, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Senator Sabo Mohammed said the committee was poised to “address every defect” in the Act or any other within its mandate to ensure ease of doing business and stir up enabling environment for local and foreign investors in the country.
This, he noted would help the nation’s economy “to advance from the present vulnerable oil dependent economy, made volatile by the intermittent price fluctuation, to a remedial diversified economy”.
Senator Mohammed maintained that “Nigeria must at this critical time, expand its economy beyond dependency on oil which demands urgent reforms in our economic policies and laws in line with the international best practices”.
“It is crucial time to create enabling environment for investors to have confidence in investing in Nigeria as well as discourage the old practice of foreigners exporting materials in their raw state to foreign countries for refinement.
“Such practice does not only lead to importing such refined product at outrageous prices, but cut down on job creation in Nigeria”, he said.