In Dubai, foreign investor slams Nigeria as a ‘very difficult place to do business’

A couple of foreign investors told Pulse in Dubai that Nigeria is still a very difficult place to do business.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have been hell bent on reforming ease of doing processes in Nigeria (Presidency)

“It’s undisputed that Nigeria is home to some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystems on the African continent and that I think is a tribute to the energy and the creativity of Nigerian entrepreneurs,” Delle tells Pulse in Dubai during the 2019 edition of the Global Business Forum (GBF) for Africa.

“I have been to 47 African countries. That said, Nigeria is among the more difficult places to do business. If I contrast the experience dealing with bureaucracy and red tape versus, let’s say Rwanda, it’s night and day.

“Whereas in Rwanda, under a day, you can set up a business online with all the paperwork that you need, your interaction basically with government is one where they are truly looking forward to making things easier for business and they really want you to set up there.

“Nigeria is not there yet. There has been some improvements. There has been a lot of improvements in Lagos at the state level, at the federal level, there are certain things that are improving, but there’s still a lot more to be done,” he added.

Delle also cited infrastructural challenges and the bureaucracy in government agencies as downsides of doing business in Nigeria.

“There’s still a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and there still needs to be a streamlining of processes. It should be made easy and the orientation of the agencies needs to change.

“You want to encourage businesses to come and set up, yeah? So, your interaction, your attitude and orientation towards businesses should be one that’s encouraging and one that’s conducive to businesses.

“And then there’s perennial challenges of infrastructure and power which significantly increases your operating cost.

“I always say that the government that can come in and just solve power alone, with the creativity and innovation that’s coming out of Nigerian entrepreneurs, if you solve power, we’ll see a significant boost in GDP,” Delle said.

Nigeria’s government agencies have often been called out for corruption and excessive red tape in dealings with prospective investors and the general public, for decades.

During the trip to Dubai for the GBF, this writer was asked for bribe at every immigration point before boarding.

During the return trip, one immigration official went: “wetin you carry come back? Abeg buy me water make I drink na.”

The President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo administration has been rolling out a raft of reforms aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

With business confidence returning to Africa, impressed entrepreneurs have sprung up across the continent and beyond, with a view to changing the reality on the ground.

Forward-thinking policy makers are also implementing solutions to problems that have hindered progress in Africa for decades.

Business and government leaders are leveraging digital technologies and working across borders to achieve connectivity and scale. With the right support, Africa now has the potential to open a new era of growth and prosperity.

With the theme 'Scale up Africa', GBF Africa 2019 explored what it will take to make Africa the destination of choice for global investors and build on its legacy as the pivotal destination for business, while seeking to strengthen bilateral ties between Africa and Dubai.

At this year’s forum, the focus was on forging the connections that will enable scale up, and explore how both regions can work together to build powerful and creative partnerships among aspiring young entrepreneurs, established businesses and governments.

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