The Edo State government has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Federal Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders to work together to ensure credible and peaceful elections so as to boost investor confidence and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and domestic investments into Nigeria.
The Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO)-Ease of Doing Business Secretariat, Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi, made the call while addressing journalists on “The 2023 Presidential Elections and Possible Impact on Businesses in Nigeria”.

Speaking in his office in Benin City, the state capital, Uwaibi noted that this is a critical period for Nigeria as a country, adding that records have shown that the effect of distorted elections anywhere in the world also have a way of playing negatively on the business environment which results in job losses and unproductive economy.

Uwaibi said Nigeria as a country has been making progress in providing a friendly business environment, citing the Business Facilitation Act of 2023 which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 10, 2023.

He highlighted the benefits of the Act to include provision of incentives to encourage MSMEs growth; efficiency and transparency in public service delivery with cost, time and procedures for doing business; promotion of good governance practices through Public Private Partnerships, enhancing regulatory environment for all, and serving as an effective tool for speedy amendment of business-related legislative framework, among others.

Uwaibi pointed to the progress Edo State has made in domesticating some of the highlights and benefits as contained in the Business Facilitation Act of 2023 even before it was signed by the president. He added that Edo State will be launching her Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the coming months.

“For us in Edo State, we have actually ensured we get it right. We are always intentional in setting the pace,” Uwaibi said.

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“In terms of legislative framework for business related matters, Edo State House of Assembly has been supportive. For example, some of the laws that were given speedy passage include The Edo State Investment Promotion Law of 2021, the Private Property Protection Law that was repealed in 2022, the Law to Establish an Electricity Market in 2022; a Bill to Establish a Diaspora Agency was passed in 2022. This shows how Edo has been proactive as a sub national.

“Publication of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) by MDAs on their websites and mandatory adherence to the stipulated timelines is one of the highlights in the Business Facilitation Act of 2023. Edo State will be working with MDAs to fulfil that, and as a matter of fact, we will be launching our SLAs in the coming months.

“In terms of incentive to ensure MSMEs growth, I am sure you are aware Edo State came up with her Incentive Compendium last year which again will be reviewed with stakeholders later this year. We have it as a document. To ensure efficiency and transparency in public service delivery with regards to cost, time and procedures for doing business, we launched an EoDB guide last year. We have Edo State Ease of Doing Business Council. We are the first on e-governance in Nigeria through the deployment of an e-gov platform to digitally process internal memos. All the ongoing reforms in public/civil service in the state right now are to address some of the issues in the Business Facilitation Act of 2023”

“The Business Facilitation Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 2023 is a legislative intervention by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which codifies Executive Order 001 (EO1) and amends 21 business related laws to remove constraints to doing business in Nigeria”

“Edo State is already domesticating this law. We are already doing well in creating a friendly business environment. Therefore, investors are waiting to see a peaceful and credible elections in the coming days. We do not want to experience any form of draw back in the business environment in relation to the strides we have made so far,” he noted.