Nigeria has moved up fifteen places in the latest Ease of Doing Business rankings released by the World Bank. The report, which evaluates the progress of business-enabling reforms in countries across the world, placed Nigeria 131 out of the 190 countries it surveyed.
The new ranking is a significant improvement on the 146th spot that it occupied in last year’s report. It signals a return to a trend of moving up the list, after dropping one place in the 2019 edition.
Nigeria was also named one of the top ten most improved business environments, a status it holds for the second time in three years. It was one of only two African countries to make it on the list of improved locations for commerce in the world.
The World Bank’s report covers the impact of business reforms on two cities, Kano and Lagos, which are Nigeria’s biggest commercial centers. It typically measures indices for starting and running enterprises in two cities for countries with populations of over 100 million.
According to the institution, its rankings are based on its assessment of business environments on such criteria as the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, and getting credit.
Other benchmarks used include the speed and simplicity of the tax payments system, protection of minority investors, trading across borders, resolving insolvency, enforcing contracts, and employing workers.
A breakdown of Nigeria’s performance across these criteria shows that it has achieved better results in some than in others. While its best performances were in the ease of starting a business and getting credit, its weakest points were in registering property and trading across borders.
New Zealand comes top of the global Ease of Doing Business rankings. Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark, and South Korea make up the top five in that order. The United States and the United Kingdom placed 6th and 8th respectively.
The Federal Government says that the latest Ease of Doing Business Report is evidence that its efforts to improve the commercial environment in Nigeria are yielding fruit. The Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, described the country’s improved ranking as “a statement to the reform implemented by the administration over the past four years.”
In 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari had inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). The body was charged with tackling the hindrances to starting and running businesses in Nigeria.
However, some experts have said that the World Bank’s report isn’t necessarily a reflection of the day-to-day realities of commerce in Nigeria’s towns and cities. Tunde Leye, a business analyst, told CNN that while formal procedures were getting easier, some government policies remained detrimental to the growth of businesses.
Featured image source: The Real News Network
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