The latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2019 ranking released on Wednesday themed ‘Doing Business 2019: A Year of Record Reforms, Rising’ showed that Nigeria carried out four reforms which included making starting a business easier in Kano and Lagos, the two cities covered by Doing Business. Getting Electricity and Trading across Borders are reforms that were also executed in the two cities.
Nigeria was ranked 145 in the 2018 report, however, this year, dropped to 146 even though its score went up by 1.37.
The report showed that Nigeria scored 52.89 higher than 51.52 which it scored in the 2018 report as it made improvements in ease of starting a business, getting electricity, trading across borders and enforcing contracts.
“In addition, Lagos made Enforcing Contracts easier by issuing new rules of civil procedure for small claims courts, while Kano, in a negative move, made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and list of documents necessary to transfer a property,” the report noted.
Nigeria made starting a business easier by introducing an online platform to pay stamp duties. Also, it reduced the time needed to register a company at the corporate affairs commission.
The report also showed that Nigeria made getting electricity easier by requiring that the distribution companies obtain the right of way on behalf of the customers and by turning on the electricity once the meter is installed.
The country also made trading across border easier as it reduced the time needed to export and import by implementing joint inspections, the NICIS2 electronic system and around-the-clock operations at Apapa Port.
Enforcing contracts likewise added to the score of the country as Nigeria, particularly Lagos made it easier by issuing new rules of civil procedure for small claims courts which limit adjournments to unforeseen and exceptional circumstances. However, Nigeria, Kano in particular, made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to register a property.
According to the report, economies in Sub Saharan Africa set a new record for a third consecutive year, carrying out 107 reforms in the past year to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises, according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report.
The latest reforms were a significant increase over the 83 reforms that were implemented in the region the previous year. In addition, this year also saw the highest number of economies carrying out reforms, with 40 of the region’s 48 economies implementing at least one reform, compared to the previous high of 37 economies two years ago.
Four of the region’s economies have earned coveted spots in this year’s global top improvers, Togo, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Rwanda. Mauritius regained a spot in the world’s top ranked economies, in 20th place.
Five reforms were carried out in Mauritius during the past year, including the elimination of a sole gender-based barrier. In the area of Starting a Business, Mauritius equalized the business registration process for men and women and further consolidating the registration process for all applicants.
Minority investor protections were strengthened by clarifying ownership and control structures and introducing greater corporate transparency. Reforms were also carried out in the areas of Registering Property, Trading Across Borders and Paying Taxes. Rwanda carried out the most reforms in the region in past year, with seven, and moved up to 29th rank globally.