That Report On Nigeria’s Harsh Business Environment   | Independent Newspapers Limited
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That Report On Nigeria’s Harsh Business Environment  

Posted: May 6, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)



Efforts by past and present administrations to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into Nigeria may not achieve the desired results after all, unless the various tiers of government seriously address the cardinal factors responsible for the existing inclement business environment in the country.

According to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report 2016, which indicates that Nigeria has ceased to be a good business environment, the 2015 report shows Nigeria ranked 170 point of 189 in the world but in the 2016 report, Africa’s biggest economy moved up only by one step to the 169 position. This is shameful.

The report revealed that poor access to electricity supply, administrative problem of complying with tax payments, the difficulty of building warehouses and cumbersome steps for registering businesses are some of the clogs in the wheels of good business environment in Nigeria.

According to the incisive report, Nigeria is ranked 182 of 189 economies globally, on the ease of accessing electricity supply while the Giant of Africa also stands at 59 in the ranking of 189 economies when it comes to accessing loans without tears from financial institutions.

We acknowledge the report as a true reflection of Nigeria’s fast declining national economy, as well as highly deplorable and frustrating business environment.

We observe with dismay that this will not be the first time reputable global organisations would release reports concerning Nigeria. However, over the years, successive administrations had ignored such reports, instead of addressing the issues frontally with a view to finding lasting solution to the problems identified by such international bodies.

We therefore urge the Federal Government and other tiers of government to address the issues immediately, as failure to do so could further compound Nigeria’s present unenviable position as an unfavourable business environment.

It is shameful that after 55 years of independence, a peaceful oil-rich Nigeria that is endowed with vast human and natural resources is ranked low, as favourable destination for business, whereas Rwanda, until recently, a war-torn nation, currently ranks as the best destination for business in Africa. In this particular regard, Rwanda and Nigeria are ranked 32 and 62, respectively in Africa.

It is also worrisome that while Nigeria is steadily lagging behind in efforts to attract foreign investments into the country, Ghana, through its dynamic economic policies now ranked 114 of 189 countries thereby topping the ECOWAS category.

This was why following the virtual collapse of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria some years ago due to epileptic electricity supply, a number of blue chip manufacturing companies relocated to Ghana and other neighbouring countries with favourable business environment.

A conducive business environment would naturally attract investments from any part of the world. We would like to warn that no serious or reputable foreign investor will leave his/her country to invest in a country that cannot guarantee him/her quick returns on his investments.

Immediate steps should be taken by government to remove all the age-long obstacles militating against successful business operations in Nigeria.

Lasting solution should be accorded the lingering problems of insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in order to assure local and foreign investors that they and their investments are safe.

All the collapsed infrastructure that could inhibit business and economic growth should be fixed urgently. Essential amenities for socio-economic and industrial development such as electricity, water and motorable roads should be adequately provided. For instance, regular supply of electricity is essential for manufacturers to operate maximally.

It is saddening that with a huge population of over 170 million, Nigeria’s embattled power sector has failed to meet the ever-increasing demands of domestic and industrial consumers. Since electricity is the engine that drives the economy, government should be sincere in its efforts to finally fix the power sector to enable it enliven the virtually comatose business environment.

Government should without delay, sanitise the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Complaints of unnecessary delays and corruption against the officials are tarnishing the image of the country. Registration of businesses should be without tears in order to encourage more Nigerians and foreigners to invest in the country.