Executive orders have the full force of law based on the authority derived from statute or the constitution itself.
In a move quite unprecedented in this clime, Ag. President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, 18th May, 2017 signed three executive orders to facilitate ease of doing business; support for local content in public procurement by Government and timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies.
Upon perusal of the executive orders, we observed it has the capacity to change the face of doing business and remove unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks that hamper government business in MDAs. Of particular significance is the part that banned touting at the Nation’s seaports; enforced local content in public procurement thereby giving the needed verve to patronage of the locally made products; conclusion of business name registration within 14 days and the facilitation of entry visas for tourists and investors at the airports.
The effect of the order on the “grow Nigeria, eat Nigeria” campaign will be far-reaching if faithfully implemented. Our economy is largely import driven and efforts to make us transit to a producer Nation and finally an export-driven one starts with the requisite political will at the highest level to lead the way.
The executive order on early submission of budgetary estimates by statutory and non-statutory agencies should be extended to MDAs. A situation in which the passage of annual budgets is delayed till May is unacceptable. Preparations for the 2018 budget should start in earnest so that by early October latest, the 2018 budget estimates is presented to the National Assembly to enhance early passage.
While good policies are not in short supply in government, effective implementation has consistently been its bane. Therefore as good as the executive orders are, Osinbajo must devise a means of ensuring full compliance and impose sanctions on defaulters where necessary.
The action of Prof. Osinbajo is the clearest indication yet of where Presidential powers reside. It has put paid to unnecessary controversy over his status in the absence of substantive President Buhari. Having moved swiftly to assert his authority, Nigerians are now reassured that the ship of state is moving steadily and in the right direction with a capable captain in charge.
Apart from assenting to the budget after the needed scrutiny is done, Mr Osinbajo should take necessary steps to overhaul the machinery of Government for better performance as it clocks two years in office. Thankfully, President Buhari has implicit confidence in the Ag. President. He should not shirk from taking decisive steps that will fast-track policies of the Buhari administration.
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