The Muhammadu Buhari administration is gratified that the various reform initiatives put in place towards instituting a positive business environment is slowly but gradually yielding some dividends as Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business remains static, halting a falling trend in the past several years.
The latest World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 ranking report released on Tuesday, October 25th which ranked Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries in the overall Ease of Doing Business rank is a positive indication that the focus and tenacity of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the nation’s business and economic environment is working and on course.
While Nigeria’s country’s position remain the same as last year on the index ranking, it is encouraging that Nigeria has recorded some positive outlooks in four critical areas of the ranking-namely: Starting a Business; Dealing with Construction Permits; Registering Property and Access to Credit.
The objectivity and reliability of this report coming from an international development institution lends weight to the milestone recorded in particular on the distance to frontier (DTF) metric, where the country’s score improved slightly from 44.02 in Doing Business 2016 to 44.63 in Doing Business 2017.
According to the World Bank report the improvements noted mean “that in the last year, Nigeria’s business regulatory environment as captured by the Doing Business indicators improved slightly in absolute terms – the country is decreasing the gap with the global regulatory frontier.
“This is a morale booster for stakeholders involved in the efforts aimed at removing existing bottlenecks in the business environment.
This observation by the World Bank is indeed a recognition of the bold initiatives and untiring work of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, particularly through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
The President in August had set-up PEBEC, which has an active collaboration with the private sector, including a Secretariat led by Mr. Seyi Bickersteth of KPMG, “to remove the bottlenecks that stifle businesses and create the right enabling environment and investment climate.”
PEBEC comprises 9 ministers, the Head of the Service and the CBN Governor as members and is mandated to give progress reports to the Federal Executive Council on a monthly basis.
The Council’s secretariat with a team comprising staff from both public and private sector, is supported by knowledge experts, and collaborates across ministries, departments and agencies as well as with other private sector stakeholders to achieve reform objectives.
Buhari has stated that his government is absolutely committed to scaling up its reform activities so as to continue to arrest the past decline where the country fell from No 94 in 2006 to 169 in 2016, and positively project the business climate to an enviable position in the international business community.
With the reform efforts being put in place now, indications are that in subsequent years Nigeria will scale up significantly in the ranking.