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Nigeria climbs 15 places on Ease of Doing Business Index

Records $5.13bn FDIs in 5 years Our strategy working — Buhari More reforms needed — Chamber of Commerce   The World Bank’s Ease of Doing…

  • Records $5.13bn FDIs in 5 years
  • Our strategy working — Buhari
  • More reforms needed — Chamber of Commerce

 

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index released yesterday shows that Nigeria has moved up by 15 places to 131th position from 146th. 

The bank included Nigeria among top 10 reforming economies in the world, indicating that the country ranked 15 in ease of getting credits or loans.

Economists spoken to yesterday described the development as “a success story,” but quickly advised policy makers to ensure that Nigerians feel the positive impact of the gains that come with the ranking.

A statement released by the World Bank said reforms carried out by the Nigerian government, and other countries that enjoyed similar elevations, have made doing business easier for the domestic private sector, leading to the creation of more jobs, expanded commercial activities, and higher incomes for investors and citizens.

The latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business study said governments of 115 economies around the world launched 294 reforms in the past year.

“Nigeria conducted reforms impacting six indicators, including making the enforcement of contracts easier, which placed the 200-million-person economy among the world’s top improvers,” the report said.

It also showed that only Nigeria and one other sub-Saharan African economy ranked in the top 50 on the ease of doing business rankings, while most of the bottom 20 economies in the global rankings are from the region.

With this year’s leap, Nigeria has improved an aggregate of 39 places in the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016.

The Doing Business Index is an annual ranking that objectively assesses prevailing business climate conditions across 190 countries based on 10 ease of doing business indicators.

The index captures Ease of Doing Business reforms that have been validated by the private sector, and offers comparative insights based on private sector validation in the two largest commercial cities in countries with a population higher than 100 million.

The report consequently features Lagos and Kano for Nigeria.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Vice Chair of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the rankings.

He said: “The steady improvement in Nigeria’s ease of doing business score and rank are a testament to the reforms implemented by this administration over the past four years in line with the reform agenda being implemented at national and sub-national levels across the country since the establishment of PEBEC by President Buhari in July, 2016.

“The PEBEC works towards the fulfilment of the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), which is striving to deliver sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by restoring growth, investing in our people, and building a competitive economy as we work towards delivering Mr President’s mandate of bringing 100 million people out of poverty,” he said.

Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business/Secretary PEBEC, while speaking on the new ranking said: “The private sector remains the fulcrum of the ease of doing business interventions.”

 

How Nigeria moved higher

The Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) said yesterday that Nigeria removed over 140 bureaucratic constraints to doing business in the country to record the latest feat in the comity of nations.

Reacting exclusively to Daily Trust on Nigeria’s latest ranking on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, the Head of NIPC’s Department of Strategic Communication, Emeka Offor, said NIPC worked with PEBEC, the relevant MDAs and states to encourage, promote and coordinate the investment aspirations in the private sector.

“Together with state governments and the private sector, over 140 reforms were implemented to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country an attractive investment destination of choice.

“NIPC welcomes the improved scores and ranking of Nigeria in the 2020 World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that as an indication of improved investor’s interest in Nigeria, the country recorded $1.19 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in 2018, up from the $981.78 million recorded in 2017.

In the last four years and half, data sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that Nigeria attracted a total of $5.13 billion as FDIs, excluding portfolio investments and other investments such as trade credits and currency deposits from overseas.

A breakdown shows that Nigeria’s FDIs stood at $1.45 billion in 2015, $1.04 billion in 2016, $981.75 million in 2017, $1.19 billion in 2018 and N466.25 million in the first half of 2019.

Also indicative of the improving investment climate in Nigeria, data from the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) shows that from January to September 2019, investors announced intentions to invest $24 billion in the country.

A breakdown shows that from January to June, NIPC tracked a total of $15.15 billion worth of investment announcements from investors across the world, while from July to September, the commission tracked N9.3 billion of investment announcements.

 

Experts speak

The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, said though such announcements are not automatic real investments, they indicate investors’ interest in Nigeria and that may eventually translate to real investments.

On his part, the Acting Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Lady Azuka Azinge, said President Buhari’s administration has simplified processes of doing business, including incorporation of business entities in the country.

She said the latest improvement of Nigeria on the Global Ease of Doing Business Index shows that the federal government’s reforms are working.

“The commission has simplified business registration by streamlining its processes and procedures to encourage MSMEs formalize their businesses. No doubt, when the current administration unveiled the Ease of Doing Business as its agenda, the commission readily keyed into it,” she stated.

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) told Daily Trust that they received the news with excitement.

The Coordinator of ACCI’s Policy Advocacy Centre (PAC), Olawale Rasheed, said the development shows that the PEBEC has done substantially well in discharging the mandate assigned it.

Rasheed said the implementation of ease of doing business reforms has integrated the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as PEBEC introduced compliance checks mechanisms.

“We can testify that registration of business names is easier and cheaper now,” he said.

He, however, expressed concern with some aspects of the business climate that still need reforms such as multiple taxations, poor access to finance in terms of funding mechanisms for SMEs and difficulties in doing business at the ports.

“As much as it is commendable, it is not yet Uhuru but we are optimistic that the government both at the national and sub-national levels will continue to constructively fast track actions in key areas of infrastructure and service delivery from regulatory agencies,” he said.

In the latest ranking, Nigeria’s worst ranking in the report was at the ease of registering properties where it ranked 183. Nigeria also ranked 179 in trading across borders.

 

Our strategy is working -Buhari

President Buhari yesterday welcomed the announcement in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He said the movement by 15 places to 131 as well as the recognition being given to Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved countries that had implemented the most reforms this year were significant.

The president said the recognition was important because the country has not even been able to achieve some of the key reforms it has pursued so far.

The validation confirmed that “our strategy is working,” he said, adding “we will continue to push even harder to deliver more impactful reforms.”

The president also said, “the announcement by the World Bank indicates that our mandate to move into the top 70 doing business destinations by 2023 remains achievable” with the impending ratification of the Companies and Allied Matters Bill and the introduction of the Business Facilitation (Omnibus) Bill, 2019 in view, along with other pending and ongoing regulatory, judicial and sub-national reforms.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) said with Nigeria latest ranking, it is evident that Buhari’s administration is “building a globally competitive economy and consolidating on our status as Africa’s biggest economy”.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, hailed the President Buhari administration on the latest ranking which sees Nigeria jump 15 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business global ratings.

Issa-Onilu said economic development is a major election promise the APC made to Nigerians in 2015.

The party also welcomed bilateral agreements between President Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the ongoing Russia-Africa Summit to strengthen Nigeria-Russia multi-faceted relations, particularly on completing abandoned projects initiated by both countries, starting new infrastructure projects and expanding trade and investment, security and military cooperation.

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