Nigerians, Foriegners to Enjoy Default Approvals if Federal Government Agencies Delay Applications

*Erring public officers to face disciplinary proceedings   

Whenever an application is not determined within the stipulated time by a Federal Government agency, such an application will henceforth be deemed to have been approved, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, directed in a set of Executive Orders signed on May 18, 2017.

The directive on default approvals is among other directives signed by Prof. Osinbajo in the present administration’s resolve to promote transparency and efficiency especially in the business environment and generally change the way things are done in public offices.  

According to the Order, “where the relevant agency or official fails to communicate approval or rejection of an application within the time stipulated in the published list, all applications for business registrations, certification, waivers, licenses or permits not concluded within the stipulated timeline shall be deemed approved and granted.”

The Order also stipulated the mode of communication of official decisions to applicants, noting that “it shall be stated in the published requirements.”

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Also to boost the transparency drive of the Buhari presidency, the Order stipulates that, “where applications are rejected within the stipulated timeline, all rejections shall be given with reasons.”

It further states that “rejections of applications shall be tracked and accurate records kept at all times for each MDA and shall be submitted to the head of the MDA on a weekly basis.”

“There shall be at least two (2) modes of communication of acceptance or rejection of applications to the applicants by the relevant MDAs before the expiration of the stipulated time, including letters, emails and publications on MDA websites,” the new directive expatiates on administration’s drive to improve transparency and efficiency in governance.

The new regulation also stipulates that applicant’s acknowledgement copy of the application, including electronic submission acknowledgements, shall serve as proof of the date of submission of the application for purposes of determination of the commencement of the application timeline.

The Order is also clear on erring public officers or those found violating the above directives, as defaulting officers would be made to face the law.

Specifically, the Order stipulates that “failure of the appropriate officer to act on any application within the timeline stipulated, without lawful excuse, shall amount to misconduct and be subject to appropriate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the law and regulations applicable to the civil or public service.”

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