The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has announced a goal to move Nigeria into the top-100 on the next World Bank Doing Business Index (DBI). Nigeria is currently 146th on the rankings having dropped one spot in the 2019 rankings. In the 2018 rankings, however, the country made an unprecedented jump by 24 places from 169th to 145th.
Backstory: The target to break into the Top 100 was given by the Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, at the 10th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum which held in Abuja on Monday. Since its founding, PEBEC has worked to make it easier to do business in Nigeria, and has made some gains.
According to a statement from the media office of VP Yemi Osinbajo, who chairs PEBEC, “The Council has focused on reducing the time, cost and procedures of doing business, and some of its successful reforms include the ability of stakeholders to reserve a business name within 4-hours and complete the registration of a company within 24 hours online; apply for and receive approval of a visa-on-arrival electronically within 48hrs; file and pay all federal taxes online; and access specialised small claims commercial courts in Lagos and Kano States, to mention a few. The World Bank also reported in 2018 that 32 states improved in their EoDB environment led by Kaduna, Enugu, Abia, Lagos and Anambra.”
What’s next for PEBEC?: According to Oduwole, this year, the Council intends to:
- Strengthen the collaboration with MDAs and partners to consolidate and build on the work done.
- Pursue the implementation of much-needed legislative reforms, specifically the passage of the CAMA and Omnibus Bills.
- Expansion of the regulatory reform program started with NAFDAC and NAICOM to include other regulators.
- Establishment of a National Trading Platform for ports.
- Concession of our major international airports.
- Cascade the Ease of Doing Business initiatives down to the sub-national level working with the state governments, and will release the first sub-national survey report in April 2019.
Bottom line: It’s going to be interesting to see whether PEBEC is able to meet its target especially with the setback last year when it dropped a place contrary to its expectations. Oduwole is basically assuring Nigerians that enough reforms can be implemented by the Council in an election year to ensure that Nigeria moves at least 46 places in the next rankings. That’s ambitious. Traditionally a lot of government agencies which are expected to implement the reforms adopt a wait-and-see approach in election years. Even the national assembly has basically shutdown for the campaign season. “We know it is bold,” Oduwole said, “but we are quite clear on what our mandate is and are motivated by the impact we know these reforms will have on the lives of Nigerians.”