Presidency Unperturbed by Nigeria’s Ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Office of the Vice President has described as gratifying the ranking of Nigeria as 169 out of 189 countries in the overall World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business.

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande said the latest World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 ranking report released on October 25 which ranked Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries in the overall Ease of Doing Business rank was a positive indication that the focus and tenacity of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the nation’s business and economic environment was yielding positive results.

He said: “The 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.

“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.”

Akande said the objectivity and reliability of the report lent weight to the milestone recorded in particular on the distance to frontier 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.”

Akande said the observation by the World Bank was indeed a recognition of the bold initiatives and untiring work of the Buhari-led administration, particularly through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, (PEBEC), chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The president had in August 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.”