By Lawrence Olaoye
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed delight at the latest World Bank rating of Nigeria as one of the ten top most improved economy in the world.
In a statement made available by his Spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President noted that Nigeria has moved up 24 places to 145th in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report published yesterday.
Osinbajo stated “I welcome Nigeria’s improved performance. We are one of the top ten reforming economies in the world in 2017. After a decade-long decline in Nigeria’s rankings, last year the Government recorded a modest increase. 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.”
According to him, the World Bank 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.
These reforms included Starting a Business; Dealing with Construction Permits; Registering Property and Getting Credit, and Paying Taxes.
He continued “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 said the focus of the government was to ensure that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) find it easier to do business in the country.