29 October 2015, Abuja — Nigeria continues to rank poorly among countries on the ease of doing business ranking, a report by the World Bank has shown.
According to data released by the World Bank in its 2016 annual ease of doing business measurement, Nigeria ranked 169 among 189 countries.
Although Nigeria moved from 170, its 2015 ranking to 169 in 2016, the largest economy in Africa was outpaced by reform-minded countries in the sub-Saharan sub region.
Other African countries including the neighboring Benin Republic fared much better in how easy it is to start a business in their countries.
The report showed that developing economies quickened the pace of their business reforms during the last 12 months to make it easier for local businesses to start and operate, Nigeria however, continues to lag behind as other countries introduced measures to fast track businesses.
In the global ranking stakes, Singapore retained its top spot. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are New Zealand, in second place; Denmark (3); Republic of Korea (4); Hong Kong SAR, China (5); United Kingdom (6); United States (7); Sweden (8); Norway (9); and Finland (10).
The world’s top 10 improvers, which are economies that implemented at least three reforms during the past year and moved up the rankings scale, were Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal, and Benin.
·Mauritius had the region’s highest ranking, at 32. Rwanda had the second highest (62), followed by Botswana (72) and South Africa (73).
·Other large economies in the region and their rankings were Kenya(108), Nigeria (169), and Uganda(122).
·Those with the region’s lowest rankings are Eritrea (189), South Sudan (187), and the Central African Republic (185). Rwanda ranks among the best in the world in Getting Credit (2) and Registering Property (12).
The report further indicates that rankings for sub-Saharan Africa show the most room for improvement in getting electricity (149), trading across borders (136), and paying taxes (131)-all areas where it ranked last among regions. In cross-border trade, for example, completing border compliance procedures takes an exporter in the region 108 hours and $542 on average, compared with a global average of 64 hours and $389.
Thirty-five of 47 economies in sub-Saharan Africa (74 per cent) implemented at least one reform making it easier to do business in the past year, 69 in total-up slightly from the annual average of 67 reforms over the past five years.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 14 of the 32 reforms globally in Getting Credit. Of the 14 reforms, 12 focused on improving the availability of credit information-more than in any other region. ·The region accounts for 5 of the 10 top improvers this year. These five are Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, and Benin.
By region, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 30 per cent of the improved global regulatory reforms and half of the world’s top 10 improvers. Multiple reforms were also implemented in Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Niger, Togo and Rwanda.
The region’s highest ranked economy is Mauritius, which has a global ranking of 32.
·Rwanda implemented the most reforms in sub-Saharan Africa in the past year, with 6. Kenya, Madagascar, and Senegal followed with 4 reforms each. Some details of the reforms:
Rwanda implemented a credit scoring service in May 2015, supporting the ability of banks and other financial institutions to assess the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. And it made starting a business easier by eliminating the need for new companies to open a bank account in order to register for value added tax.
Kenya launched government service centers offering company preregistration services in major towns, reducing the time required to start a business by 4 days. Ten years ago, starting a business in Kenya took 54 days. Now it takes just 26 days-less than the regional average.
Madagascar strengthened minority investor protections by requiring that directors with a conflict of interest fully disclose the nature of their interest to the board of directors.
In Senegal the electricity utility improved the regulation of the connection process and lowered the cost by reducing the security deposit.
Members of the Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa were particularly active: 14 of the 17 economies implemented business regulation reforms in the past year-29 reforms in total. Twenty-four of these reforms reduced the complexity and cost of regulatory processes, while the other 5 strengthened legal institutions.
*Tobi Soniyi – Thisday