President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, signed the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2023 (“the Omnibus Act” or “the Act”) into law as part of the Federal Government’s initiative to foster an enabling environment for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
The Omnibus Act, which is a legislative intervention by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), was presented as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend 21 business-related laws, and remove bureaucratic barriers to conducting business in Nigeria.
Notable changes have been made to the Immigration Act, 2015 which includes:
i. Entry visas into Nigeria are now required to be issued or rejected with reason within 48 hours of receipt of valid applications.
ii. The amendment also provides that a comprehensive and up to date list of requirements, conditions and procedures for obtaining visa on arrival as well as other entry visas, including the estimated timeframe shall be published on all immigration- related websites, Embassies and High Commission and all ports of entry.
iii. The power to prohibit departure out of Nigeria is now vested in the Comptroller General of Immigration and not the Minister of Interior.
iv. Notice of change to particulars of Business Permit is now required to be given to the Comptroller General if Immigration.
v. It is now required that the Nigerian Immigration Service, using any system or any means of electronic communication establish, accredit and facilitate the automated filing of any document, information or return contemplated by the Act.
vi. The Nigerian Immigration Service is now empowered to make regulations relating to the standards of operation, accessibility, technical requirements, service quality and fees for the use of the system; declare the system to be the acceptable mechanism for filing any document, information or return instead of any other requirement stipulated in any legislation relating to the filing of that document.
It is important to take deliberate notice of these changes and developments made by the legislation.