The President assented to the Bill after it was passed through both the senate and the house of representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly. The Executive Bill, presented as the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Act, 2023, came into being through efforts by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to create an enabling environment and erase numerous bureaucratic constraints that might hinder the ease of doing business in the country.
The new bill comes after four years’ collaboration among stakeholders in both the private and public sectors, including the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, consulting firms, the Nigerian National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, the Nigerian Economic Group Summit, and the Nigerian Bar Association through about 40 law firms that specialise in business law.
An Omnibus act, the new legislation amends 21 pieces of legislation regulating businesses in Nigeria, including the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
Commenting on the Act, Moshood Abdulmajeed, a Nigerian legal practitioner and associate at Olaniwun Ajayi LP, said, “The Business Facilitation Act is a welcome development as it aims to further promote the ease of doing business. I find the transformation of a lot of processes to ‘electronic regime’ interesting. Public companies can now have their general meetings electronically, CAC can now issue electronic share certificates, notice of meetings can now be given to members electronically, and there’s the inclusion of electronic voting. All of this will help reduce bottlenecks in the company administration and proceedings.”
The Act codifies Executive Order 001 on Transparency and Efficiency in Public Service Delivery, which is the first to strengthen business reforms. Jamaldeen Bamidele, a law practitioner at Strachan Partners specialising in corporate practice, believes micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will benefit most from the Act. There are over 39 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria, and they constitute 90% of companies registered in the country.
Bamidele was of the view that, “The passage and the enactment of the Business Facilitation Act 2023 came at the right time and it is considered a huge fortune for the Nigerian business environment, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the country’s economic development in general. It’s evident in the fact that the Act was enacted on the heels of the recent approval by the World Bank of over $750 million in support of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) to promote the ease of doing business and strengthen business-enabling reform in the country.”
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