The big story: Nigeria moved 24 places in the latest World Bank Doing Business rankings released on Tuesday. The country is now ranked 145th out of 190 economies. Last year it was at 169. For the first time ever, Nigeria was also ranked as among the top 10 reformers in the world.
Why this matters: The Buhari administration has placed Doing Business reforms as a top priority. In August 2016, President Buhari constituted a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Its mandate was to make it easier for small businesses to start and thrive as well as to move Nigeria up the rankings by 20 places by this year. With the announcement today, PEBEC has fulfilled that mandate.
Buhari celebrates: In a statement on Tuesday, Pres. Buhari expressed pleasure with Nigeria’s “phenomenal improvement” in the rankings. He congratulated all Nigerians for the achievement and particularly hailed PEBEC and VP Yemi Osinbajo.
One factual error: in his statement, Pres. Buhari claimed that the improvement in the rankings “also reflects our efforts to make it easy for foreign business visitors to obtain visa on arrival, pass through our airports and do their businesses with ease and speed.”
While it is true that there have been reforms by the government on entry and exit of people including a sort of visa on arrival, that reform area is not measured by the World Bank and has no bearing on Nigeria’s ranking.
The indicators being tracked by the World Bank which span the entire life cycle of a business are:
- Starting a Business
- Getting Credit
- Dealing with Construction Permits
- Registering Property
- Paying Taxes
- Protecting Minority Investors
- Trading across borders
- Resolving Insolvency
- Getting electricity
- Enforcing contracts.
As can be seen, none of the indicators relate to the visa processes or passing through the airports. But, what’s a small factual error on a day of good tidings for the government.