The UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub, Mr. Jean Bakole has revealed that the country ranks very poorly in the Ease of Doing Business 2017 report, ranked 169th in 190 countries, making it one of the most difficult places to do business in. Within Africa, the country is ranked 37th in 52 countries, doing better than just 15 other nations.
This was revealed at the 57th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital. The theme of the conference was Enhancing Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: An Impetus To Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth, and Bakole pointed out that this was coming at an auspicious time as ease of doing business creates the needed impetus for economic recovery and sustainable growth, especially as the country is battling recession.
The event had in attendance, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by Chief Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, represented by the commissioner for commerce and industry, Honourable Bimbo Ashiru, all the presidents of city and state chambers, SSA to the president on Trade and Investment, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Dr Fatai Folarin, Director, Technology Incubation Centre, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, John Oni, first class obas and kabiyesis and a host of others. During the conference, Iyalode Alaba Lawson was formally inaugurated as the 19th president of the association, the first woman to assume the position.
Bakole pointed out that asides not being friendly when it comes to doing business and taking business decisions by investors, the country failed woefully in every parameter used in measuring, which includes starting a business (ranked 138), construction permits (174th), electricity (180th) and paying taxes (182nd). Others are trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. He revealed that a good business environment is a prerequisite for the growth of manufacturing and services, an area the country is seriously lacking.
Even among the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), regarded as emerging economic giants, the country is not doing well. Pointing out best practices other countries have adopted that have made it easier to do business in them which Nigeria could emulate, he urged public and private partnerships and efforts should be made to harness the country’s human, natural and material resources for national development.
Reacting, Oduwole revealed that the government is focused on small and medium businesses and mentioned several reforms in the works including reducing the number of days for business registration and construction permits, streamlining procedures and improving timelines for businesses to get connected to electricity, reducing the number of days required to register property as well as export and import time, simplifying border transactions and NAFDAC and SON registrations. She also added that all government agencies have to put up on their sites all that one needs to register for anything, including the cost and how long the process would take. She warned that people should pay exactly what is stated on the site and not give an extra kobo to anyone.