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World Bank lists Nigeria among top ten reformed economies

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The World Bank Doing Business project has recognized Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world. Nigeria moved up 24 places to 145th in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report published today which chronicled across 190 economies. This is the first time the country is recognized as such.

An elated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo welcomed the country’s improved performance and said Nigeria is one of the top ten reforming economies in the world in 2017.

“This year, Mr. President set us an ambitious target of moving up twenty places in the rankings – 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 (ERGP) 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,” he said.

The project 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 are Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits,  Registering Property, Getting Credit and Paying Taxes.

In the area of company registration, the Corporate Affairs Commission has moved to offer online registration and introduced new features such as electronic stamping of registration documents. Thus, entrepreneurs have been able to register their businesses much faster, within 24-48 hours, thereby saving cost and time

Getting construction permits and registering property in both Lagos and Kano States have become more transparent and easier for businesses with the online publication of all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online.

Getting access to credit is now easier and Nigeria is placed 6th in the world on this indicator. The Government recorded a significant success by collaborating with the National Assembly to pass two new Acts, the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act 2017 and the Credit Reporting Act 2017, thereby strengthening the legal framework for access to credit for SMEs across the country – an important requirement for the success of SMEs.

Finally, it has become easier to pay taxes in Nigeria because taxpayers can file tax returns at the nearest Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office, and electronic payment and filing are gradually gaining acceptance.

Osinbajo continued; “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 again 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 concessioning 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.”

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