Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said state governments and their agencies have a significant role to play in ensuring an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, especially in their domains.
Osinbajo stated this in his remarks at a virtual meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) where a presentation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Program coordinated by the secretariat and the World Bank was discussed.
The SABER Program is a 3-year (Jan 2023 – Dec 2025) performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat.
The initiative is to incentivize and strengthen the implementation of business enabling reforms in Nigeria specifically across the participating states of the federation and the FCT.
According to the Vice President, “for all who are charged with responsibilities at the state level, you have your work cut out for you.
“If we are going to have the kind of business environment that our country deserves and that can make a difference for our economy, it is the hard work at the sub-national level that would really move the needle.”
He added that “the States’ process is a very important one and I hope that we will be able to spend individually, especially in the States, a fair amount of time trying to work out how this will work in actual practice in our various States.”
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He also noted that “it has been a major challenge “just trying to coordinate agencies and parastatals. at the federal levels”
In her own remarks, Jumoke Oduwole, the special adviser on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary of PEBEC, stated that “we have been collaborating for over two years in conceptualizing the SABER Program,” adding that “it is the first programme of this size that the World Bank is embarking on at this scale globally.”
The program is a $750million operation comprising two main areas – $730million Program-for-Results Financing (PforR) component and $20million technical assistance for investment project financing.”
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had made a formal request to the World Bank for the preparation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Program with Government Partners.
This was after a request came from PEBEC, through its Vice Chairman, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, asking for the World Bank’s support for deepening ease of doing business reforms at the sub-national level.
The PEBEC–NEC Ease of Doing Business intervention was initiated to deepen subnational business-enabling reforms through SABER program incentives, using result-based financing targeted at improving the business environment.
It is also expected provide technical assistance to all states to support gaps in reform implementation and provide opportunities for structural development and institutionalization of reforms across the country leveraging the PEBEC-NEC implementation structure.
The programs will ride on the back of State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, which has created a mutual accountability platform between the Federal Government and the States, while SABER will further consolidate and deepen gains from EoDB reforms implemented across the country.
It is also expected to facilitate crowding-in private investments at scale, a key requirement for the achievement of Nigeria’s development priorities.