• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria seen falling in World Bank ‘Ease of Business’ rating

Lagos and Kano, two of Nigeria’s largest economies have done very poorly in the latest ease of  doing business ranking conducted annually by the World Bank, among the  country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Four main indices – ease of opening a business, property registration, construction permit and enforcement of contract – were used by the World Bank in its ranking which saw the two states stuck in the bottom ten.

Lagos and Kano are most likely to be used as parameters to measure  Nigeria’s performance in the upcoming global ease of business ranking which pitches 189  countries against one another.

For instance, the preliminary table released by the World Bank, containing Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT, shows that Kano ranks 34th in starting a business, 27th in dealing with construction permits, fifth in registering property and 25th in enforcing contracts. This puts Kano’s average performance at 22.75.

Similarly, Lagos ranks fourth in starting a business, 36th in dealing with construction permits, 31st in registering property and 28th in enforcing contracts,  thus putting the state’s average performance at 24.75.

But further analysis of the report shows that Bauchi ranks 11th in starting a business, sixth in dealing with construction permits, eighth in registering property and ninth in enforcing contracts, while Jigawa which ranks 25th in starting a business, ranks first in dealing with construction permits, fourth in registering property and sixth in enforcing contracts.

Niger State likewise performed well, ranking 16th in starting a business, fifth in dealing with construction permit, sixth in registering property and 13th in enforcing contracts, while Ogun ranks

fifth in starting a business, 16th in dealing with construction permit, 28th in registering property and 17th in enforcing contracts.

Zamfara, another northern state, also performed well, ranking second in starting a business, 24th in dealing with construction permits, first in registering property and 11th in enforcing contracts.

Enugu ranks 27th in starting a business, 23rd in dealing with construction permits, 13th in registering property and 35th in enforcing contracts.

Olisa Agbakoba, legal adviser to Berverly & Sam Properties, developers of luxury apartments in Apo, Abuja, had confirmed to BusinessDay that Abuja is leading not just the whole of the northern Nigeria, but also, the major cities of the country, in the ease of registering property and delivering houses.

“Abuja presents better opportunities, not just in land charges, but also in cheap labour. The city is the biggest construction site in Africa, accommodatingall types of developments for the low, middle and high income buyers, unlike Lagos, where developments are concentrated at the high end market,” he said.

Teniola Eleoramo, group managing director, Kohath Investment Group Limited, also confirmed to BusinessDay that Abuja is investor- friendly in terms of registering property, disclosing that “because Abuja is less bureaucratic than Lagos, we were able to conclude the transaction for the development of our project much earlier.”

“Nigeria will likely drop in the ranking based on what we have seen so far. This shows that there is the need for the government to address issues that stifle businesses.

“Such issues range from finance, multiplicity of taxes, infrastructure deficiencies, among others,” said an economist who chose not to be named.

Muda Yusuf, director-general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “Power supply has consistently lagged behind the pace of the economic activities and population growth.

This development impacted negatively on investment over the past few decades, with increased expenditure on diesel and petrol by enterprises. This also comes with the consequences of declining productivity and competitiveness.”

CHUKA UROKO &  ODINAKA ANUDU