The World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Index (DBI) has reported an improvement in Nigeria’s ease of doing business score from 51.52 to 52.89. The report, which was released on October 31, 2018 also ranked Nigeria 146 out of 190 countries assessed in the 2017/2018 reform year.
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 organized 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 features Lagos and Kano for Nigeria.
Although the DBI 2019 report records a downtick from the previous year’s ranking of 145, the country overall gained 1.37 points in its Distance-To-Frontier (DTF) scores, which assess the absolute level of regulatory performance over time and measures the distance of each economy to the “frontier”. This essentially means that over the past year Nigeria has improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business Indicators and in absolute terms, the country is narrowing the gap with global regulatory best practice.
On the back of the sustained efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the report also acknowledged that Nigeria implemented her second highest number of reforms since the beginning of the Doing Business Index. Despite this however, some were not considered for the cycle under review as they were either classified as too recent to have an impact on the business climate, or the private sector did not validate them - which impacted the ranking.
Commenting on the Report, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Industry, Trade & Investment, said: ‘The feedback from the World Bank has reaffirmed the commitment of the PEBEC to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks faced by businesses in Nigeria as we work towards improving the country’s competitiveness.
“The response from the private sector has also underscored the need for increased engagement between reform-implementing organs of government and the private sector players to ensure we are able to record sustainable progress. We strongly believe that while Nigeria did not increase in the rankings, the country has indeed witnessed an improvement in the enabling business environment in the past year. This will be reflected as more reforms are accepted for Nigeria by the World Bank Index in subsequent years” she further stated.
Earlier this month, the World Bank had separately released its 2018 report on the ease of doing business reforms across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory based on four indicators. A major highlights of the report was that 31 out of 36 states recorded improvements in their ease of doing business scores, recognizing that states are increasingly working towards removing the constraints faced by businesses.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (OVP) /Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council