Garba Shehu

Monday letter2

How easy is it to do business in Nigeria? My answer is a cheeky response from a Nigerian hit song by Omawuni, “If you ask me na who I go ask?”

 If you ask Mr.Garba Shehu that speaks for the government he would tell you that the Vice President has signed many executive orders to aid business processes. He would tell you that various agencies that cause duplication of duties are currently monitored for greater efficiency; he would tell you that PEBEC is doing a great job i.e. – the presidential enabling business environment council set up in 2016 to enable businesses do better.

But if you ask the SMEs that number over 30million in Nigeria according to SMEDAN it is another song and dance about no power, lack of infrastructure and a stifling economic outlook. They tell you about over 54 taxes and the unease of paying these taxes and inadequate information available. They would tell you that whatever the government says is untrue as they believe that government does everything to kill businesses.

But if you ask the World Economic Forum who set up the ease of doing business metrics under 12 pillars in 1979, they would tell you the facts would speak for themselves, so what are these facts?

Business confidence; the question is: are businesses confident in Nigeria? We are quick to say foreign data and the position of 146 on the ranking is terrible but are businesses confident? What is industrial production like in Nigeria? Is it viable? Manufacturing production is another factor. Can we say evidently that this thrives in Nigeria? Internet speed and IP addresses are other factors. Do we have the best of internet speed? Leading economic index, manufacturing Pmi and crude oil rigs are other factors.

It has to be said corruption index and corruption ranking makes a big showing. I am sure no objective Nigerian would be gay on corruption outlook in Nigeria. As it stands bribery of every official possible still holds sway. We forget that our economic outlook depends on it like a bungee jumper depends on his rope.

Competition is the oil that lubricates performance, but what is our competitive ranking and index like? It is still said that we don’t have a “viable” bureau on competition. Even if we have, I bet the Sherman’s act written in the 1800s in America is still more robust than what we have and implementation is another factor. Other factors like composite PMI and Services PMI are important to be considered. I know if I raise the issue of the service sector in Nigeria, it would be a bedlam of woes, so I would not go there. Capital utilization and mining prospects are other tangible factors in ascertaining the ease of doing business.

Rufai Oseni, rufaioseni@gmail.com