The Federal Government says all tiers of government are working actively to improve the country’s 2018 ranking on the Ease of Doing Business.
Mr Aminu Bisalla, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, said this in Abuja on Thursday at a meeting with the commissioners for trade and commerce from the states.
“All arm of government are now involved to ensure that the country improves in its ranking of ease of doing business.
As part of effort aimed at facilitating the ease of doing business in Nigeria, registration is now very easy; small businesses can now establish without facing any difficult situation.
More states have lands that are accessible, business owners can use the land to get loan and I am very optimistic that the next ranking will see Nigeria progress tremendously.
A lot is being done to reposition the economy in areas where we have comparative advantage.
We have realised that the engine of growth is the private sector and the only way to succeed in vitalising the economy is to make it very easy for businesses to flourish,’’ Bisalla said.
In July 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with a mandate to remove bureaucratic and regulatory constraints to doing business in Nigeria. The Council is chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The council released three main pillars of the next phase of interventions and reform to improve its image on ease of doing business report by the World Bank in 2018.
The pillars comprises Deepening Existing Reforms, Sub-national Reforms and Trading within Nigeria.
Nigeria’s ranking in the latest report by the World Bank for 2017 improved marginally from 170 to 169 out of the 190 countries
Nigeria’s overall global ranking improved by 44.63 per cent points average, against 44.02 per cent age points, or 0.61 per cent in 2016.
Bisalla said that in the past, the major challenge for small business owners was multiple taxation which made it difficult for small businesses to develop.
According to him, with the effort made so far by the government, business can now flourish and with that, there will be more employment in the country.
Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, in a paper, said there were compelling imperatives for sub-national reforms at the states level.
The paper is tilted “Reforming Nigeria at the sub-national level: Bringing Enabling Environment Reforms to all Nigerians’’.
Oduwole, who is the Secretary to the council, said that the reforms were in the best interest of each state to support economic growth and development.
She said that reform progress would serve as a tool for investors to measure viability of proposed investment in a state, adding that some states were already implementing the reforms.
Oduwole said a lot could be achieved with limited resources by applying best practices like efficiency, transparency, performance management and key performance indicators.
“Sub-national rankings are important as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) make up to 90 per cent of business in Nigeria.
The local business plays a vital role in ability of MSMEs to thrive, a friendly business environment MSMEs to move from the informal to the formal sector,’’ she said.
Oduwole said that drastic and fast-paced business reforms must be conducted simultaneously to improve the business environment and attract foreign investors.
She said that reforms must be adopted within the next 12 months to reflect in the 2018 ease of doing business report.
According to her, going forward, the council is focusing on three key areas which are deepening existing sub-national and additional reforms.
Ms Cemile Hacibeyoglu, from the World Bank Group, said successful reforms should include all relevant agencies and the private sector.
Hacibeyoglu said the sub-national doing business studies were aimed to promote competition and motivate regulatory reforms, to improve the business environment and achieve convergence among locations towards the best regulatory practices.