It was cheering news as the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report published this week indicated that Nigeria has moved up 24 places to 145th and recongnised the country for the first time the country as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world.
The World Bank Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies worldwide.
“I welcome Nigeria’s improved performance. We are one of the top ten reforming economies in the world in 2017. After a decade-long decline in Nigeria’s rankings, last year the Government recorded a modest increase. This year, the President set us an ambitious target of moving up twenty places in the rankings – I am delighted that we have exceeded his goal. Improving the business environment is at the heart of the Buhari Administration’s reform agenda. We are reinforcing our economic turnaround by a vigorous and active implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) so businesses operating in Nigeria can thrive and be competitive globally” The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was quoted as saying in his reaction to the news.
The World Bank highlighted five reforms making it easier to do business in Kano and Lagos, the two cities covered by the report in Nigeria over the course of last year.
These are starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, and paying taxes.
In the area of company registration, the Corporate Affairs Commission has moved to offer online registration and introduced new features such as electronic stamping of registration documents. Thus, entrepreneurs have been able to register their businesses much faster, within 24-48 hours, thereby saving cost and time.
Getting construction permits and registering property in both Lagos and Kano States have become more transparent and easier for businesses with the online publication of all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online.
Getting access to credit is now easier and Nigeria is placed 6th in the world on this indicator.
The Government recorded a significant success by collaborating with 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.
Finally, it has become easier to pay taxes in Nigeria because taxpayers can file tax returns at the nearest Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office, and electronic payment and filing are gradually gaining acceptance.
We urge the government to sustain this reform and build on it to such an extent Nigeria will become an investor’s haven