•Named Global Top-10 Improver For Second Time In Three Years
The World Bank has released its 2020 Doing Business Index (DBI) on Thursday, October 24, 2019, showing that Nigeria ranked 131 out of 190 countries in the survey, after moving 15 places up from 146th position last year.
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. It captures the 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 100m. The report consequently features Lagos and Kano for Nigeria.
The report, according to Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President Ease of Doing Business and Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), also named the country one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world for the second time in three years.
This makes Nigeria “one of only two African countries to make this highly prestigious list. With this year’s leap, Nigeria has improved an aggregate of 39 places in the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016,” Oduwole noted.
While, briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the rankings, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Vice-Chair of the PEBEC, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said “the steady improvement in Nigeria’s ease of doing business score and rank is 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 the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari in July, 2016.”
The PEBEC, he continued, is working towards fulfilling the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), “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.”
The 2020 Doing Business report from the World Bank, he continued, reaffirms “the commitment of the newly constituted PEBEC to making Nigeria a progressively easier place to do business and removing the bureaucratic constraints to doing business in the country as we forge ahead in this Next Level.”
Activities of the PEBEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with 13 ministers as members amongst others, is coordinated through the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the judiciary, state governments and the private sector to carry out over 140 reforms. It aims to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business.
The report, Oduwole stressed, acknowledges reforms spearheaded by the PEBEC in the areas of operationalising a new electronic platform that integrates the tax authority and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It also acknowledges reforms carried out in some of the World Bank Doing Business indicator areas such as starting a business, registering property, getting construction permits, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, and trading across borders.
“The CAC upgraded its name reservation platform and, in Kano, there is now an electronic platform for registering business premises online, eliminating the need to appear in person. In Lagos, land administration was made more transparent following the digitisation of cadastral plans in a geographic information system; digital copies of cadastral plans are now easily obtainable. Nigeria also made getting electricity easier by allowing certified engineers to conduct inspections for new connections. Initiatives also made commercial litigation of smaller cases more efficient. The Chief Judges in Lagos and Kano issued practice directions for small claims courts introducing pre-trial conferences and limit adjournments. Finally, customs integrated more agencies into its electronic data interchange system, and port authorities launched an e-payment system, speeding up both exports and imports,” Adebayo continued.
Welcoming the announcement, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Oduwole, noted that “the movement of 15 places to 131 as well as the recognition being given to Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved countries, who have implemented the most reforms this year, is significant because we weren’t even able to achieve some of the key reforms we had pursued, but what we have done so far is being recognised. This validation confirms that our strategy is working and we will continue to push even harder to deliver more impactful reforms.
“The private sector remains the fulcrum of the ease of doing business interventions. We are committed to more engagement between reform-implementing organs of government and the private sector players and we are happy to see that this has resulted in a more favourable validation of the reforms by the private sector. This result will serve as encouragement to sustain the deepening of these reforms and make it even more tangible for businesses and the citizenry. The PEBEC is focused on delivering even more substantive reforms for the improvement of the general business climate.” she further stated.
Over the past four years, Nigeria’s score has steadily improved in the World Bank Doing Business Report, after years of decline in both score and ranking in the years preceding 2016.
The statement recalled that in 2017, Nigeria moved up by an unprecedented 24 places on the Doing Business rankings, and was for the first time ever, recognised as one of the top 10 reformers in the area of doing business that year.
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, Nigeria is poised to meet its goal of being a top 100 ranked economy by 2020. The announcement indicates that our mandate to move into the top 70 doing business destinations by 2023 remains achievable.
Photo caption: Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo receiving The 2019 E01 Compliance Report from the Hon. Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at the State House in Abuja.