By Okechukwu Enelamah
Yesterday, Nigeria moved 24 places to 145 in the Doing Business report issued by the World Bank. It was also named among the top 10 reformers in the world alongside India, Thailand, Malawi, and others.

The World Bank Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies worldwide.

The improvement in global doing business ranking is a big step in our march towards creating an enabling environment for businesses and a validation of the hard work put in by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), the reform actualizing agency of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which is chaired by Vice President ‘Yemi Osinbajo, with me as Vice Chairman.

The World Bank report indicates that Nigeria has made significant progress in five reforms namely starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit and paying taxes.

Reforms aimed at reducing the complexities, time, and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business and getting credit were implemented while the ones on trading across borders and others are firmly being worked on.

More specifically, Doing Business finds that Nigeria implemented substantive changes in the local regulatory framework in the following areas in 2016/17:

• Nigeria made starting a business faster by allowing electronic stamping of registration documents. This reform applies to both Kano and Lagos.

• Nigeria (Kano) increased transparency in obtaining a construction permit by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online. Nigeria (Lagos) made it easier to obtain construction permits by streamlining the permitting process and increased transparency by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online.

• Nigeria (Kano) made transferring property more transparent by publishing the list of documents, fee schedules and service standards for property transactions. Nigeria (Lagos) made transferring property easier and more transparent by removing the sworn affidavit for certified copies of land ownership records, introducing a specific and independent complaint mechanism and by publishing statistics on land transfers.

• Nigeria improved access to credit information by guaranteeing borrowers the legal right to inspect their credit data from the credit bureau and by starting to provide credit scores to banks, financial institutions and borrowers. Nigeria also strengthened access to credit by adopting a new law on secured transactions and establishing a modern collateral registry. These changes apply to both Kano and Lagos.

• Nigeria made paying taxes easier by introducing new channels for payment of taxes and mandating taxpayers to file tax returns at the nearest Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office. This reform applies to both Kano and Lagos.

With the forgoing, it is apparent that a lot is being done to remove all the bottlenecks hampering the ease of doing business in Nigeria, but more needs to be done. With the second phase of the National Action Plan (NAP 2.0) currently being implemented, we expect further improvements in our global ease of doing business ranking.

We intend to do more in sensitizing stakeholders — governments, agencies, entrepreneurs, regulators, foreign investors, and more — on the progress of our work in relation to how it affects their operations.

I strongly believe it is through testing and retooling our reform initiatives that we will get the best and most efficient way to get business done according to global standards.

I appreciate everyone who has supported the drive of government to achieve this outstanding milestone which many have described as “impressive”, and the EBES for staying true to the vision of creating an enabling business environment in the service of our nation and the benefit of its people.

 

Mr Okechukwu Enelamah
Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria