As part of efforts to improve the business environment in the state, Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has approved the constitution of two council committees to provide a conducive environment for business and investment to thrive in the state.
The Niger State Commissioner for Industry, Trade, Investment, and Private Sector Development, Hon. Suleiman Takuma, disclosed this yesterday during the post-state executive council meeting press briefing held at the Press Gallery, Government House, Minna.
The committees referred to as councils were the State Ease of Doing Business Environment Council and the State Action for Business Enabling Reform Council.
The Commissioner explained that the constitution of the councils was part of the implementation framework for the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
He disclosed that, with the approval of the governor, the Deputy Governor, Comrade Yakubu Garba, will chair the state Ease of Doing Business Environment Council while the Commissioner for Investments will serve as the Deputy Chairman of the council.
Other members of the committee he revealed were the Commissioners for Agriculture, Finance, Planning, Lands, Environment, Justice, Works, and MSME.
Hon. Takuma added that in the membership of the committee, there were agencies such as the Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the General Managers of the Urban Development Board and NIGIS, the Executive Secretary of the State Investment Promotion Agency, and the president of the Niger Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NCCIMA), while the secretary of the committee is the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Investments.
He disclosed that there is also a technical committee that will work closely with this steering committee at the apex to do all the groundwork, which, according to him, will be chaired by the state commissioner of finance, Hon. Lawal Adamu Maikano, and co-chaired by him.
Hon. Takuma said members of the technical committee include the permanent secretaries of the ministries of finance, planning, land and survey, ICT, justice, investment, environment, and agencies like the IRS, NIGIS, office of the accountant general, office of the auditor general, state investment promotion agency, and the open government platform domiciled at the office of the state commissioner for finance.
He said these two committees will allow for support from internal interventions from the likes of World Bank, adding that there is a sitting 750 million dollars that wss meant for supporting states in Nigeria and one of the criteria for accessing this intervention was the constitution of these committees.
The Commissioner added that the committees await approval of the date for inauguration from the Governor, adding that they will hit the ground running when inaugurated.
He also recalled the first green economy summit in the country convened by the state government, saying everything will go green, which will result in less waste, less carbon emissions, and a lot of recycling activities, as his ministry is already talking to some investors about investing in the green space in the state.
Also, the state commissioner for lands and survey, Barr. Maurice Bello Magaji, said his ministry had been doing a lot in the sector, adding that they were currently reviewing issues of certificates of occupancy applied for during the bonanza period initiated by the immediate past administration.
Similarly, the state commissioner for tertiary education, Hon. Abdullahi Adamu Mamagi, informed members of the press that with the approval of the state university of education, the state now has 10 tertiary institutions owned by the state government.
He also noted with concern the proliferation of private tertiary institutions in the state, particularly health institutions, and that the ministry has a taskforce committee in place as they will soon go all out to clamp down on illegal tertiary institutions in the state, disclosing that only about 34 of such private institutions passed all the registration processes.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Binta Mamman, said the present administration, under the leadership of Governor Umaru Bago, was committed to serving the people of the state with dedication, integrity, and a relentless commitment to improving the living conditions of the people, hence the weekly post-state executive council meeting press briefing to keep the people abreast of the activities of the government.
Niger State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Nasiru Mu'azu, has disclosed that his ministry presented a memo before the state executive council seeking amendments to Niger State administration of Criminal Justice Law 2023, passed into law in May 2023.
The Attorney General made this disclosure yesterday during the post-state executive council press briefing held at the Press Gallery, Government House, Minna.
He said the bill was passed and assented to by the immediate past administration in the state, and it was greeted by some cries about its implementation because the positions of the law made it too cumbersome to be implemented.
The commissioner added that the amendments they drafted will allow both law officers and police officers to effectively discharge their obligations without any form of hindrance that causes unnecessary delays in the administration of criminal justice in the state.
He said the amendments were to fast-track the prosecution of criminal cases in both magistrates and high courts in the state and to empower non-members of the legal profession, that is, police officers with the requisite experience, to prosecute criminal cases at magistrate courts, as well as the need to prevent private persons from prosecuting criminal cases as private prosecutors without the knowledge of the Attorney General of the state.
The Attorney General also disclosed that they arranged for the amendment of a provision of Section 1 of the law, referred to as the citation and commencement section of the said law, which he said was crucial and vital to have amended in order not to render the law null.
He explained that every law has a commencement date, but for this law that was passed and assented to on May 27, 2023, the operational date was October 20, 2023, saying it has a retrospective effect, which was not in tandem with the expectations of what an ideal law should be.
He said the commencement date was very important because it was a procedural law, and with the law being passed, assented to, and made public on May 27, 2023, all processes filed before this date will be null and void because they were in compliance with the law.
He also disclosed that another area of importance they sorted for amendment was the right of any person to proceed with private prosecution, which must be with the consent of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the state.