By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Sochi, Russia, hailed the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Index (DBI) which ranked Nigeria 131 out of 190 countries, 15 places up from its 146th position last year.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the report, which was released Thursday, also named Nigeria one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world for the second time in three years.
It also said Nigeria was one of the only two African countries to make this highly prestigious list, noting that with this year’s leap, Nigeria has improved an aggregate of 39 places in the World Bank Doing Business index since 2016.
It explained that the Doing Business Index is an annual ranking that objectively assesses prevailing business climate conditions across 190 countries based on 10 ease of doing business indicators.
The index captures ease of doing business reforms that have been validated by the private sector, and offers comparative insights based on private sector validation in the two largest commercial cities in countries with a population higher than 100 million. The report consequently featured Lagos and Kano for Nigeria.
Adesina said Buhari welcomed the development, saying “the movement of 15 places to 131 as well as the recognition being given to Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved countries, that have implemented the most reforms this year, is significant because we were not even able to achieve some of the key reforms we had pursued, but what we have done so far is being recognised. This validation confirms that our strategy is working and we will continue to push even harder to deliver more impactful reforms.”
According to the statement, with the impending ratification of the Companies and Allied Matters Bill and the introduction of the Business Facilitation (Omnibus) Bill, 2019 in view, along with other pending and ongoing regulatory, judicial and sub-national reforms, the president reasoned that “the announcement by the World Bank indicates that our mandate to move into the top 70 doing business destinations by 2023 remains achievable.”
Adesina said Buhari was briefed on the rankings by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, in far away Sochi, Russia, quoting him as saying:
“The steady improvement in Nigeria’s ease of doing business score and rank is a testament to the reforms implemented by this Administration over the past four years in line with the reform agenda being implemented at national and sub-national levels across the country since the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari in July, 2016.
“The PEBEC works towards the fulfillment of the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), which is striving to deliver sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by restoring growth, investing in our people, and building a competitive economy as we work towards delivering Mr. President’s mandate of bringing 100 million people out of poverty.
“The 2020 Doing Business report from the World Bank has reaffirmed the commitment of the newly constituted PEBEC to making Nigeria a progressively easier place to do business and removing the bureaucratic constraints to doing business in the country as we forge ahead in this Next Level.”
Adesina explained that PEBEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with 13 ministers as members, amongst others, has through the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, collaborated with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the judiciary, state governments and the private sector to carry out over 140 reforms so far in a bid to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and making the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business.