The World Bank on Tuesday released its latest Doing Business Rankings, and in cheering news for the administration, the country moved up 24 places from 169th last year to 145th out of 190 ranked economies.
Nigeria was also recognized this year as one of the top 10 most improved Doing Business economies in the world.
“After a decade-long decline in Nigeria’s rankings, last year the Government recorded a modest increase. This year, Mr President set us an ambitious target of moving up twenty places in the rankings – I am delighted that we have exceeded his goal,” said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in a statement after the report was released.
The five reform areas which the World Bank highlighted for Nigeria this year are:
- Starting a Business,
- Dealing with Construction Permits
- Registering Property
- Getting Credit, and
- Paying Taxes.
A proof of just how far the country can go when the Executive and legislative arms work together was in the Getting Credit indicator. Nigeria is now ranked 6th worldwide on Getting Credit and a huge reason for that success was the collaboration between the executive and the national assembly “to pass two new Acts, the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act 2017 and the Credit Reporting Act 2017, thereby strengthening the legal framework for access to credit for SMEs across the country – an important requirement for the success of SMEs.”
Reforming the business environment is one of the legacy initiatives of the Pres. Muhammadu Buhari administration. On resumption as Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said ease of doing business was going to be a priority of his ministry. His push got the buy-in of the presidency and led to the setting up of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in late 2016. The council is chaired by Vice President Osinbajo and has ten ministers, head of Civil Service of the Federation, governor of the CBN and representatives of the national assembly and private sector as members. The Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) was also set up to implement the reforms of the Council.
“For the first time, coordinated efforts across various levels of governments have been undertaken to make it easier to do business in Nigeria. I commend all stakeholders who worked with us to achieve this significant result, particularly the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano State Governments, and the private sector,” Osinbajo said in his statement.
He said the focus of the government “remains firmly on ensuring that SMEs operating in Nigeria find it easier to do business. Our ultimate success will be the testimonials received from businesses all across the country. However, this report endorses the direction that we have been taking to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria over the last 12-18 months. Although we are beginning to get some positive feedback, we still have a lot of work to do before the full impact of our reforms are felt by all Nigerians.”