Despite sustained efforts by the federal government to improve Nigeria’s business environment, indications showed that most of the efforts had not impacted positively on the nation’s business climate with its ranking at the 169th position among the 189 countries assessed on economic reforms implementation.
The ‘Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency’ report published yesterday by the World Bank showed that Nigeria moved just a point higher than the 2015 position of 170th in the global rankings.
The country also scored poorly in Distance to Frontier assessment index, scoring 44.69 per cent in 2016 as against the 43.56 per cent in 2015.
During the period under review, the country was reported to have carried out two reforms more than it did last year.
Of the 35 countries covered by the report in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria came 25th, with Mauritius, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Benin and Senegal ranking among the top best improvers.
The World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement indicated that Sub-Saharan Africa economies continued to implement reforms to improve the business climate for domestic entrepreneurs, with members of the Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, OHADA, particularly active during the past year.
According to the report, out of the 69 reforms carried out in 35 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, 14 of the OHADA’s 17 member countries implemented 29 reforms.
This is even as the report showed that reforms implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 30 per cent of the 231 reforms implemented worldwide during the past year.
The Breton Woods institution disclosed further that the region also boasted half of the world’s top 10 improvers, that is, countries that implemented at least three reforms and moved up on the global rankings scale.
Amongst the improvers in the continent are Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Benin and Senegal.
The report noted further that the region stood out in implementing reforms under the Getting Credit indicator, adding that of the 32 reforms made globally, 14 were carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Kenya and Uganda making significant progress.
Commenting on the report findings, Rita Ramalho, Manager of the Doing Business project, noted that “despite great improvements, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa will need to continue working on closing the gap in many key areas that impact the ease of doing business, especially increasing access to reliable electricity and providing effective commercial dispute resolution – two areas where the region scores the lowest globally.”
Clarifying further, the bank reported that on Getting Electricity, it required an average of 130 days for an entrepreneur to get a new electricity connection and, once connected, customers experience frequent outages lasting almost 700 hours per year, thereby making Sub-Saharan Africa the region with the highest duration of outages globally.
This is even as the region was also ranked poorly in the areas of Trading Across Borders and Registering Property.
At the continental level, Mauritius was reported to rank best in the region, with a global ranking of 32, performing particularly well in the areas of Paying Taxes and Enforcing Contracts.
It takes only 152 hours for entrepreneurs to pay taxes in the country, compared to 261 hours globally.
The bank stated further: “Rwanda has the next best ranking in the region, with a global ranking of 62. Rwanda also implemented the highest number of reforms in the region, with six reforms carried out in the past year. The country ranks second in the world on the Getting Credit indicator and 12th in the world on the Registering Property indicator.
“Ten years ago, an entrepreneur in Rwanda took 370 days to transfer property. Now, it takes 32 days which is less than in Germany. Botswana, with a global ranking of 72, South Africa (73), and Seychelles (95) are also among the better ranked economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“However, Kenya and Uganda experienced significant increases in their rankings, with Kenya moving up to 108 this year, followed by Uganda, which has moved up to 122,” it added.
It attributed the improvements in Kenya primarily to four reforms implemented by the country in the areas of Starting a Business, Getting Electricity, Registering Property, and Getting Credit, while Uganda implemented reforms in the areas of Starting a Business, Getting Electricity and Getting Credit.