By Patience Danjuma
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that he is delighted at the World Bank’s latest “Doing Business” report that saw Nigeria moving up 24 places to 145th and recognising the country as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world.
Osinbajo congratulated all stakeholders who worked with the Federal Government to achieve what he described as “significant result.”
The Vice President’s position was contained in a statement made available to newsmen by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
He said, “I welcome Nigeria’s improved performance. We are one of the top 10 reforming economies in the world in 2017. After a decade-long decline in Nigeria’s rankings, last year, the government recorded a modest increase.
“This year, Mr. President set us an ambitious target of moving up 20 places in the ranking – I am delighted that we have exceeded his goal.
“Improving the business environment is at the heart of the Buhari administration’s reform agenda. We are reinforcing our economic turnaround by a vigorous and active implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan so businesses operating in Nigeria can thrive and be competitive globally.
“For the first time, coordinated efforts across various levels of governments have been undertaken to make it easier to do business in Nigeria.
“I commend all stakeholders who worked with us to achieve this significant result, particularly the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano state governments, and the private sector.”
Osinbajo said the present administration would continue to ensure that SMEs operating in Nigeria find it easier to do business.
He said the government’s ultimate success would be the testimonials received from businesses across the country.
He said the report endorsed the direction that government has been taking to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria over the last 12 to 18 months.
The Vice-President added that although the government has started getting positive feedback, there is still much work to be done before the full impact of the reforms would be felt by Nigerians.
He added, “Some of our critical ongoing reforms include a new sub-national ‘ease of doing business’ project being implemented in conjunction with all the states and the FCT to replicate similar reforms across the country.
“We are also collaborating with the National Assembly to deliver an Omnibus Bill to jointly furnish a more business-friendly legal framework for Nigerian businesses in the future.
“Furthermore, the Federal Executive Council has approved the concession of our major international airports, which will be fast-tracked to enable easier movement of persons.
“We are also nearing the implementation stage of our National Trading Platform to ensure our cross-border trading is more efficient, while collaborating with other countries to safeguard our security.
“This policy will also be supported by ongoing reform efforts to simplify trading within Nigeria, whether that be the ease of trade in goods, regulatory approvals or the protection of intellectual property.”
The World Bank highlighted five reforms making it easier to do business in Kano and Lagos, the two cities covered by the report in Nigeria over the course of last year.
They include Starting a Business; Dealing with Construction Permits; Registering Property; Getting Credit, and Paying Taxes.
On September 27, the second 60-day National Action Plan was approved by an expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.
The plan has over 60 priority initiatives targeted to be attained by December 1.
The plan covers 11 areas this time, including new areas such as Enforcing Contracts, Simplifying the Procurement Process, and Trading Within Nigeria.
The PEBEC was established by the President in July 2016, with a mandate to sustainably and progressively make Nigeria an easier place to do business.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.