Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, improved its ranking on the latest World Bank ease of doing business index, but some analysts say that doesn’t necessarily mean an improved economy — and that the country still has anti-business policies.
The index is a yearly ranking that assesses the business environment in 190 countries using various indicators including paying taxes, trading across borders, starting a business and protecting minority investors.
Some of them include cutting down the time it takes to register a business, new grid connections for electricity and upgrading election systems for imports and exports. But according to Leye, these policies may have the opposite of the desired effect as a lot of traders and business owners are losing revenue and goods, referencing the recent closure of the Nigerian land borders. In August, Buhari closed Nigeria’s land frontiers to goods traded with Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin, citing the need to protect the country’s economy from frequent smuggling.”This closure has erased millions’ worth of trade. It is counterproductive in making business easy. We should not tamper with trade and monetary policy in that manner,” Leye said.
Ola Brown, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, a medical emergency services company, said some of the reforms have helped transform her business. “I run an air ambulance business and visa on arrival, a simple policy change, has changed my business. We can now bring patients to Nigeria without having to get a visa in advance,” she told CNN.
In a statement Thursday, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council said it has more plans to deliver sustainable economic growth and improvement of businesses across the country. “We are committed to more engagement between reform-implementing organs of government and the private sector players and we are happy to see that this has resulted in a more favourable validation of the reforms by the private sector,” council secretary Jumoke Oduwole said in the statement.”The council is focused on delivering even more substantive reforms for the improvement of the general business climate,” Oduwole said. There is progress with government efforts to create a stable business environment, but there should also be a consideration for better education and training for entrepreneurs on how to run businesses, Brown said. According to her, investing in teaching business owners ways to improve and grow their business will have a positive effect on the country’s business climate.”It’s not just in the big skills. Small systematic things, like how to negotiate better with foreign partners, will help the ease of doing business,” she said.