The National Economic Council (NEC), at its meeting held on August 18, 2022, endorsed the $750m World Bank-backed State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) programme. The $750m financing amounts to 36% of the $2bn Government SABER programme (2022 – 2025), which represents the aggregate recurrent expenditure of key ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) at federal and state level across the country. The SABER programme is a 3-year performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank Technical team and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) Home Finance Department and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat. It further gives expression to the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) mandate articulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was subsequently retained in the National Development Plan (NDP), aimed at generating 21 million full-time jobs and lifting 35 million people out of poverty by 2025. The programme is designed to deliver concrete results across 4 reform areas with 8 Disbursement Linked Indicators, covering improving land administration and land investment process; improving business enabling infrastructure; increasing sustainable large-scale investments; and enabling firm operations. All participating states and the FCT could potentially receive a maximum of $52.5m during the 3-year period. In addition to the already-existing PEBEC-NEC subnational intervention, the SABER programme seeks to provide additional incentives, such as using results-based financing targeted at improving the business environment and facilitating crowding in of private sector investments at scale. The eligibility criteria for the programme include developing an annual action plan with private sector collaborators to be approved by the State Executive Council and published online. Recommendations from the 2nd Subnational EoDB Report, due to be released in October 2022, are also expected to be considered. The PEBEC had earlier presented the SABER programme at an expanded PEBEC meeting held on August 16, 2022, chaired by the Vice President with the chairpersons of the EoDB Councils from various states across the country in attendance. Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary to the PEBEC stated that the Council had been collaborating with the World Bank since November 2019 to develop the SABER programme. She explained that the SABER programme consists of two main areas: $730 million Programme-for-Results (PforR) and $20 million Technical Assistance. The PEBEC was established in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari to remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria. His Excellency the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo SAN, GCON, is Chair of the Council.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (OVP) /Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council