Lagos is Nigeria’s economic hub with over 20 million population and many businesses operating there. The State largely depends on the taxes and levies it generates from these businesses for economic survival.
At the 2022 GAT Summit held in Lagos, Thursday, some of the industry operators, entrepreneurs, and business owners in attendance charged the government and regulators to ensure that businesses are not over-regulated.
Also, they bemoaned the high level of bureaucracy and how much time it takes to obtain certain industry licenses, business registrations, and other regulatory processes; while urging the government and regulators to ensure that businesses under their jurisdiction survive the harsh economy.
During a question and answer session, the Lagos Government was asked why it keeps stifling small businesses operating in the State.
Response From Lagos State Government
Responding to the question, Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Innovation and Technology, described the question as incongruent, stating that the State is committed to ensuring that businesses irrespective of the sector survive.
“I don’t really know what the person is alluding to, and perhaps maybe there’s a specific industry that they are talking about, maybe it’s transportation, maybe it’s tech.
“I can tell you for a certainty that Lagos State is not trying to kill tech at all. And, in fact, is from what I mentioned earlier, is trying to enable the industry better.”
Government regulations of businesses laws and statutes passed to protect businesses and the public interest, Alake made reference to the early days of banking in Nigeria and how regulation has been the cornerstone to their stability.
He said regulations aren’t to make businesses suffer but to ensure stability and sustainability.
“I think it was in the early 2000s when the Central Bank of Nigeria decided to make regulations on the banking industry and they said that look if you want to become a bank, minimum capital requirements must be N25 billion.
“And a lot of banks complained at that time that this is too heavy. How can we get 25 billion as a minimum capital requirement, right? What is our minimum cash reserve ratio, meaning the number of deposits you should keep on reserve as opposed to those that you loan out?
“All factors point to stabilizing the banking system? And then the CBN Governor, I think it was Professor Charles Soludo, who is the current Governor of Anambra, who then put these regulations into space. A lot of banks complained so much, that is crazy and predatory.
There were about around between 89 to 95 banks in Nigeria, but the minimum capital requirements reduced the number of banks to about 25 because a lot of them had to merge with each other. They had to do a lot of mergers and acquisitions.
“But what happened later was that the banks having a much larger capital reserve requirement made them more stable and made them stronger.
if you were doing banking in the 80s and the 90s in Nigeria, it was a very tumultuous period. You could put your money into a bank and within a year that bank could be gone. kaput, there were no regulations, and banks were just doing what they liked.
Continuing: In fact, there was a huge there was a time I think, in the early 90s. During that time, banks were failing, right, left, and center. But over the past years, how many banks have you seen that are failed? They are much more stable. They are internationally recognized. In fact, after those rules, Nigerian banks started showing up on international rankings, right?
“Because there were rules that were guiding them, even though it was seen as predatory at the time. You know, if they became more stable, your debit cards could now be accepted abroad, you know, and things like that.
“And so the industry today, as I’m telling you, 95% of banking assets in Nigeria are owned by Nigerian banks. And that’s just to tell you the stability, right?”
According to the Special Adviser, it’s important that the tech industry, lobbying groups, or operators help the regulatory agencies make the right legislation.
He said before the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency was established in 2006 Lagosians were mounting different signposts everywhere without proper guidelines and regulations by the government.
Now, the Agency defines the signage and outdoor advertising industry through effective signage and outdoor advertisement regulation and civic beautification, Alake said.
2022 GAT Summit
The partnership raises the prospects for the GAT Summit as both platforms to boast a track record of excellence not only in media innovation but in large-scale event creation and management