Reforms by Buhari’s government push Nigeria up by 24 places on ease of doing business global ranking

These reforms have positively impacted business operations and commercial activities in the country.

According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report 2018, Nigeria was ranked 145th position in the report. This is 24 positions better than the nation’s rank of 169th in the 2017 report.

The report also hinted that Nigeria is among the top 10 countries that initiated reforms towards enhancing business processes.

Here are major reforms instituted by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on improving ease of doing business in Nigeria.

The PEBEC was set by President Muhammadu Buhari to coordinate reforms of institutions whose activities affect business in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, signed three executive orders on Thursday, May 18, 2017. These orders have helped put end to many hindrances in Nigerian business environment.

These three executive orders are on the following key commercial and business activities; Transparency in MDAs-  which addresses issues dealing with the issuance of licenses, permits, approvals e.t.c, entry and exit experience by visitors and port operations.

An improved operational environment and effectiveness have been noted in these areas. Hence, the improvement in the country's rating.

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The PEBEC also undertook a reform of Corporate Affairs Commission, which is in charge of registering businesses in Nigeria.  The reform led to reducing the number of forms to fill or completed to just one (Form A1), making the whole process online and completed in just 48 hours (2 days).

About two-thirds of the processes of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were automated. Therefore, significantly reducing the number of time spent on inspecting consignments.

More so, this has helped many businesses to avoid the cost associated with demurrage and risks associated with consignment over-staying at the port.

Also, the government has reduced the number of documents needed for import and export from 14 to 8 and 10 to 7 respectively.

The number of security agencies at the ports was also reduced from 20 to just 5.

Issuance of passport in 2 days was also main policy reform that helped in a great deal in the country’s improvement on the rank of doing business by World Bank.

There is now e-passport application and visa on arrival from willing investors and visitors coming into Nigeria. These reforms have helped make the country better and improve its perception among foreign investors.

Signing into law these two bills were stated as the revolutionary threshold for Nigeria’s reform of her business environment. With the secured Collateral registry Act (2017) and the Credit Reporting Act (2017), many small businesses were made to have a leverage to credit as hindrances in getting funds from financial institutions were reduced.

With these laws, many businesses received a boost and operating in the country become much easier than before.

These reforms were a great leap, as Mr Charles Robertson, the Global Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital, stated about the reforms in Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business is presently at 169th in the world. But I am promising you that it is going to get considerably better in the next 12 months. This government has actually started to reform.

“They have slashed the time to register a new business from 10 days to two days. I think as you get the Ease of Doing Business better, you should also see some improvement in corruption ranking. It is never going to be dramatic. We do know President Buhari has tried to make some difference.”

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