World Bank Begins Assessment of States on Ease of Doing Business

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Olamilekan Okeowo

In a bid to assess how compliant Nigerian states are to the presidential initiative on ease of doing business, The World Bank is set to commence activities leading to the ranking of Nigerian States on their ease of doing business.

In a press release from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Honourable Minister of the ministry Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, and the Secretary to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole disclosed in a presentation to the National Economic Council (NEC), that Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be ranked based on an assessment of the ease of doing business within each location for the period 2014-2018.

The EBES has been working tirelessly over the last year to harmonize government activities, reduce incidence of multiple taxation, reduce bureaucratic bottle necks and implement new initiatives that can help ease business in the country.

Some of this work has led to the signing of executive orders, a few months ago by the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo. The World Bank typically ranks companies by gathering evidence in the field themselves rather than rely on the government’s information. They visit MDA’s, interview SMEs, test processes and turnaround times, review taxes etc.

Concerns have however arisen that Nigeria may not achieve its target of attracting a higher ranking despite the government’s efforts at easing business. The reality on ground suggests things are probably not going as planned.

Network issues at the corporate affairs commission have bedeviled the ability of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to achieve its 48 hours company registration target. Currently, it takes upwards of one week to two weeks to complete company registrations in Nigeria. Lawyers opine that despite efforts at introducing technology, most of the processes still require manual documentations and sign offs leading to delays.

The issues are the same across most government agencies including customs, NAFDAC and Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON. For now, the government will hope that things are better at the state level than Federal or that they improve ahead of World Banks final assessment.

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