Nigeria maintained its 169th position in the latest World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking released yesterday.
Out of the 190 countries surveyed, the report titled: “Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All,” the World Bank Group’s annual report on the ease of doing business, showed that Nigeria only performed better countries such as Chad, Haiti, Angola, Libya, Eritrea, Somalia, Congo Democratic Republic, Yemen, Syrian Arab Republic, Myanmar, Djibouti, Guinnea-Bissau, Bangladesh and Congo Republic.
A breakdown of the report showed that in terms of ‘Starting a Business,’ Nigeria was ranked 138. Also in ‘Dealing With Construction Permit,’ the country was ranked 174; and in ‘Getting Electricity’ – 180.
Others included Registering Property – 182; Getting Credit -44; Protecting Minority Investors – 32; Paying Taxes – 182; Trading Across Borders- 181; Enforcing Contracts – 139 and Resolving Insolvency- 140.
According to the report, a record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses. The new report also found out that developing countries carried out more than 75 per cent of the 283 reforms in the past year, with Nigeria and other economies in Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over one-quarter of all reforms.
In its global country rankings of business efficiency, Doing Business 2017 awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand, Singapore ranks second, followed by Denmark; Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Norway; United Kingdom; United States; Sweden; and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken were Brunei Darussalam; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Belarus; Indonesia; Serbia; Georgia; Pakistan; United Arab Emirates (UAE); and Bahrain.
Sub-Saharan Africa economies stepped up the pace of reform activity, with 37 economies undertaking a total of 80 business reforms in the past year, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. For the second consecutive year, Kenya was among the world’s top 10 improvers, while seven economies implemented four or more reforms each in the past year.
However, 13 economies in the region stipulate additional hurdles for women entrepreneurs.
The report cited research that demonstrated that better performance in ‘Doing Business’ was, on average, associated with lower levels of income inequality, thereby reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
“Simple rules that are easy to follow are a sign that a government treats its citizens with respect. They yield direct economic benefits – more entrepreneurship; more market opportunities for women; more adherence to the rule of law,” World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Paul Romer said.
“But we should also remember that being treated with respect is something that people value for its own sake and that a government that fails to treat its citizens this way will lose its ability to lead.”
“Doing Business data points to continued successes in the ease of doing business worldwide, as governments increasingly take up key business reforms. Starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days worldwide, compared with 46 days 10 years ago. Paying taxes in the Philippines involved 48 payments 10 years ago, compared to 28 now and in Rwanda, the time to register a property transfer has dropped from 370 days a decade ago to 12 days now.”
This year’s Doing Business added gender measures to three indicators – Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts – finding disparities in 38 economies.
Of these, the report showed that 23 economies imposed more steps for married women than men to start a business. Sixteen limit women’s ability to own, use and transfer property. Doing Business finds that, in these economies, fewer women work in the private sector both as employers and employees.