The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has disclosed that the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, which moved Nigeria 15 places to 131st is yet to reflect on the business climate in the country. LCCI explained that the progress had failed to translate to improved investor confidence in Nigeria, evidenced by the insignificant share of foreign direct investment in aggregate private capital flows to the country in recent quarters.
The chamber alluded to the fact that the progress had been questioned by some existing business operators on the belief that it is not a broad-based reflection of business climate realities in Nigeria. LCCI disclosed this in a survey on Nigeria’s economic perspective, saying that it expected to have seen broad-based improvement in ease of doing business following such a leapfrog. It noted that rather the business community continued to suffer from tough operating environment characterised by high energy costs, high logistics costs, high transactional costs at the ports, excessive regulations, multiplicity of tasks & levies, weak purchasing power as well as policy flip-flop, thereby making the economy less competitive compared to global peers. However, the chamber, in the survey, commended the Federal Government on the attainment of this feat, which also reflects the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Buisness Environment Council (PEBEC) in ensuring smooth business operation. Besides, LCCI in its report, revealed that at the year’s start, the Nigerian economy was confronted with high and persistent inflation, portfolio investment outflows pressurising external reserves and exchange rates, rising debt profile and sustainability concerns, weak domestic revenue mobilization, huge infrastructural deficit, weak private investment, lack of synergy between fiscal and monetary policies, tough operating environment, high unemployment rate and contracting income per capita. The LCCI report said: “According to the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business Assessment, Nigeria progressed to 131st position in the year 2019 from 146th position in the previous year, and also featured among the top ten countries that improved the most in the implementation of business reforms.
“The improvement underpins the efforts of the Federal Government through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) towards making the domestic business climate more enabling and conducive for private enterprises. “However, the progress has failed to translate to improved investor confidence in Nigeria, evidenced by the insignificant share of foreign direct investment in aggregate private capital flows to the country in recent quarters. “The progress has been questioned by some existing business operators on the belief that it is not a broad-based reflection of business climate realities in Nigeria.” It would be recalled that Nigeria had moved 15 places up the ladder in the 2020 Doing Business Report to 131st from 146th position in 2019. The ranking is Nigeria’s best performance since 2011.
“Our analysis of the report showed Nigeria climbed four spots higher to snatch the 17th position in the sub-Saharan Africa and jumped two spots higher to claim the 5th spot in West Africa. With this report, Nigeria has moved 39th places in five years, from 170th position in 2015 up to 131st position. “However, Nigeria’s ranking in the west African sub-region is 5th position. But we can do much better as the economic powerhouse of the region,” the Chamber noted.