“The Buhari administration is gratified that the various reform initiatives put in place towards instituting a positive business environment is slowly but gradually yielding some dividends.
“Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business remains static, halting a falling trend in the past several years,’’ the Vice Presidential spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said, via a release issued on Thursday in Abuja.
Akande recalled that the latest report had ranked Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries in the overall Ease of Doing Business rank.
He described the ranking as “a positive indication that the focus and tenacity of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the nation’s business and economic environment is working and on course.
“While Nigeria’s position remains the same as at last year on the index ranking, it is encouraging that Nigeria has recorded some positive outlooks in four critical areas of the ranking.’’
Akande listed the areas as: Starting a Business; Dealing with Construction Permits; Registering Property and Access to Credit.
He noted that the objectivity and reliability of the report coming from an international development institution, lent weight to the milestone recorded in particular on the distance to frontier (DTF) metric.
Akande observed that on the metric, 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 last year, Nigeria’s business regulatory environment as captured by the Doing Business indicators improved slightly in absolute terms.
According to the report “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.’’
Akande declared that the observation by the World Bank was recognition of the bold initiatives and untiring work of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He said it was particularly achieved through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
He said Buhari in August had set-up PEBEC, which had an active collaboration with the private sector, “to remove the bottlenecks that stifle businesses and create the right enabling environment and investment climate.”
PEBEC has nine ministers, the Head of the Service and the CBN governor as members and is mandated to give progress reports to the Federal Executive Council every month.
The council’s secretariat with a team comprising staff from both public and private sector, is supported by knowledge experts and collaborates across ministries, departments and agencies as well as private sector stakeholders to achieve reform objectives.
According to Akande, Buhari is absolutely committed to boosting reform activities so as to continue to arrest the past decline, where the country fell from number 94 in 2006 to number 169 in 2016.
He said the reforms would positively project the business climate to an enviable position in the international business community.
“With the reform efforts being put in place now, indications are that in subsequent years, Nigeria will scale up significantly in the ranking,’’ he declared.