Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), on May 18, 2017, signed an executive order to create an enabling environment for businesses and entrench measures and strategies aimed at promoting transparency and efficiency in the business environment in Nigeria.
The order ensures that there must be transparency in the operations of all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It states that all MDAs shall publish a complete list of all requirements or conditions for obtaining products and services within the MDA’s scope of responsibility, including permits, licenses, waivers, tax related processes, filings and approvals.
It adds the list shall include all fees and timelines required for the processing of applications for the products and services including a complete list of all requirements or conditions for obtaining products and services within the MDA’s scope of responsibility, including permits, licenses, waivers, tax related processes, filings and approvals.
The Executive Order makes the head of the relevant MDAs responsible for ensuring that the list is verified and kept up-to-date at all times. It says if there is any conflict between a published and an unpublished list of requirements, the published list shall prevail.
The order further states, as regards communication to applicant of any application, the mode of communication of official decisions to applicants must be stated in the published requirements and where the relevant agency or official fails to communicate approval or rejection of an application within the time stipulated in the published list, all applications for business registrations, certification, waivers, licenses or permits not concluded within the stipulated timeline shall be deemed approved and granted.
An Applicant whose application is deemed granted under this Directive may apply to the Minister for the time being in charge of the application for the issuance of any document or certificate in evidence of the grant within 14 days of lapse of the MDA’s stipulated timeline for the application and failure of the appropriate officer to act on any application within the timeline stipulated, without lawful excuse, shall amount to misconduct and be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the law and regulations applicable to the civil or public service.
The Order also states that the entry experience of visitors applying for ordinary tourist and business entry visas to Nigeria will now be issued or rejected with reason by the Consular Office of Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions within 48 hours of receipt of valid application, the timeline shall be proactively published by pasting a notice conspicuously at every Consular Office and by publication on every website of Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions. It adds that a comprehensive and up to date list of requirements, conditions and procedures for obtaining visa on arrival, including estimated timeframe, shall be published on all immigration-related websites in Nigeria and abroad, including Embassies and High Commissions, and all ports of entry into Nigeria.
The processing of issuance of visas on arrival shall be carried out in a transparent manner. Visas on arrival shall be granted at all Nigerian ports of entry once applicants have met all the published requirements.
These transparency provisions are among other provisions signed by Prof. Osinbajo in his capacity as Acting President to demonstrate the Federal Government of Nigeria’s commitment to the promotion of domestic and foreign investments, creation of employment and stimulation of the national economy and the order takes effect immediately.