By Kemi Kasumu
The Presidency has expressed excitement over the Tuesday’s World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report which rated Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries in the overall Ease-of-Doing-Business rank.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Laolu Akande, said in a statement yesterday that it was a positive indication that President Muhammadu Buhari’s focus and tenacity to re-position the economy was working and on course.
Akande said Buhari’s administration was gratified that the various reform initiatives for a positive business environment was 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.”
According to Akande, “While Nigeria’s country’s position remains the same as last year on the index ranking, it is encouraging that Nigeria has recorded some positive out-looks in four critical areas of the ranking namely; starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and access to credit.”
He said Buhari was committed to scaling up reform activities “to continue to arrest the past decline where the country fell from No 94 in 2006 to 169 in 2016 and positively project the business climate to an enviable position in the international business community.”
Akande added that with the reform efforts being currently put in place, there were indications that in subsequent years, Nigeria would scale up significantly in the ranking.
He stated: “The objectivity and reliability of this report coming from an international development institution lends weight to the milestone recorded in particular on the distance to frontier (DTF) 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.
“This observation by the World Bank is indeed a recognition of the bold initiatives and untiring work of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, particularly through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council chaired by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The president in August had 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.”