I want to thank you very much for attending, and also to congratulate all of our awardees who have clearly distinguished themselves and have helped so much in getting to where we are.

I want to say in particular that what this demonstrates very clearly, is that there is absolutely nothing that we cannot achieve as a people if we set our minds to it.

Just listening to what Titi Shonuga had to say a few minutes ago, tells us very clearly that we are a unique people, and we demonstrated that by this extremely rapid movement 24 spaces up and qualifying as one of the 10 most improved economies in the world, within really a space of about a year or so of active work.

What happened with this group of people working together was that first; we had the Executive and Legislative coming together to make this happen. We had the very great leadership of the Senate President and the Right Honourable Speaker, and of course several of the distinguished Members of the House of Representatives who have already been given awards today.

We decided that it was time that we sorted out the business environment and we did something about that. I think the fact that we were able to meet all deadlines, and the Legislature was able to meet all the deadlines that we set, was really incredible.

Working with the States; Lagos, Kano, and seeing that even at the sub-national level, there is so much that could be done even with collaboration with the Federal Government and they can do it so effectively. I think this whole group of people deserve commendation and would like you to give them another round of applause for the excellent things that they did.

We were greatly assisted by the cooperation of all of the MDAs; Immigration, Customs, Airport authority, NAFDAC, CAC, practically every one of the MDAs worked very closely with us and very hard to make this happen. Of course, the PEBEC secretariat led by our own Doctor J as we call her, Doctor Jumoke Oduwole and the great team she has.

I want to say the next plan of action, and I think Dr. Oduwole has already pointed that out, is bound to be a lot harder and we are already beginning to see that unless we put our minds to it again, and work hard and consistently, we might not be able to achieve the objectives we set for ourselves.

I want to say to everyone, that it is so important that we move up as quickly as possible on the Ease of Doing Business scale, but more importantly, that we make a real impact on our business environment because this is not just about moving up or some World Bank rating, for us it is more important that we create an environment where small and big businesses, are able to do business effectively in this environment and do so with ease.

That is the target we have set for ourselves, that the day must come, when anyone who comes to this country can say I was able to do my business easily and effectively, and local business people can confirm that it is just a breeze to do business in Nigeria.

For us, it is more important that we are able to create an environment where small businesses and bid businesses and everyone is able to do business effectively in this environment and to do so with ease. And I think that that is the target we have set for ourselves; that the time must come, a day must come that anyone who comes into this country will say I was able to do business easily and effectively and local businesses can confirm that it’s just a breeze to do business in Nigeria and I think that we can really achieve that. A lot of it has to do with our bureaucracy and the way that the bureaucracy works. We are working very hard on that on the attitude of bureaucrats and persons who have been charged with responsibilities of making things easy. Sometimes, such people mat really not understand their roles as well as they ought because the whole business of processing or giving investment approvals and all of that should be able to make things easy and not be able to become an obstacle of sorts.

And I think that that attitude is changing and we are going to ensure that it continues to make progress as we go along. So just to say, again I thank very much for all of the efforts that have gone into this and to say that the next few weeks and few months will involve a lot of doing and all of us we are going to write into this. And I already have the assurances of our friends and colleagues in the legislature and at the states as well. We are bringing more sub-nationals at this point, may be more states and I’m sure we’re going to be even more successful than we were in the first action plan.

Thank you very much

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
December 12, 2017