Nigeria Moves to 169 in World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 Ranking

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Monday, July 11 2016 12:22PM /FBNQuest Research

In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016, Nigeria has moved up one place to 169 out of 189 countries.  This reflects badly on the largest economy in Africa and among the top 30 globally.

Rather than query the findings, the FGN takes the annual surveys seriously and has set targets for its ranking in the years ahead. It is possible to rise quickly up the table, one of the best examples being Rwanda, which now stands as high as no 62 overall (and the highest in mainland Africa).

The rankings are benchmarked to June 2015. At the minimum, the exercise predated the liberalisation of the exchange-rate regime last month.

The rankings are based on ten separate elements. Nigeria’s highest score is for protecting minority investors (20), and lowest for getting electricity and trading across borders (both 182).

The highest reflects both company law and capital market regulations in Nigeria.

Turning to the lowest, the dire ranking for access to electricity will not surprise anybody. Generation across the country is comparable to that in a large European city (and not even a mega-city). Progress is necessarily slow for a host of reasons, all well documented.

For the volume of trading across borders, Nigeria would score well. Before the halving of the fuel subsidy in January 2012, imports of petroleum products were running as much as 40% ahead of national consumption. The excess was contraband to neighbouring countries, led by Benin.

The low ranking is based, of course, upon the time and cost of importing and exporting. The data are worse for importing. Documentary and border compliance combined averaged 470 hours for imports and 291 hours for exports.

The customs service has been directed by the FGN to improve its management of, and revenues from border traffic.

Among members of ECOWAS, Nigeria’s standing is poor. Its standing is below, for example, Côte d’Ivoire (no 142), Burkina Faso (143), Sierra Leone (147) and Senegal (153).

The respondents for the Nigeria section of the report were mostly accountants and lawyers, with a handful from the same firm in several cases. The “producing” economy was lightly represented by engineering and construction firms.

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