The World Bank, through its Doing Business (DB) team, has said that Nigeria is among top-20 improvers in doing business.
Out of 190 countries, special adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, disclosed on Friday in Abuja that the country was rated among the top 20.
She said that the announcement came ahead of the October 24 release of the 2020 World Bank Doing Business rankings.
[READ MORE: World Bank swallows its words on Nigeria again]
Oduwole explained that the World Bank Doing Business Report was an objective assessment of prevailing business environments based on a number of ease of doing business indicators.
According to her, in Nigeria, the report assesses doing business conditions in the two largest commercial cities – Lagos and Kano.
She said, “The World Bank’s announcement acknowledges reforms spearheaded by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council(PEBEC) in the areas of operationalising a new electronic platform that integrates the tax authority and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“It also acknowledges reforms carried out in some of the World Bank Doing Business indicator areas such as starting a business, registering property, getting construction permits, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, and trading across borders.
“The CAC also upgraded its name reservation platform and, in Kano, there is now an electronic platform for registering business premises online, eliminating the need to appear in person.
“In Lagos, land administration was made more transparent following the digitisation of cadastral plans in a geographic information system; digital copies of cadastral plans are now easily obtainable. ” Nigeria also made getting electricity easier by allowing certified engineers to conduct inspections for new connections. Initiatives also made commercial litigation of smaller cases more efficient. “The Chief Judges in Lagos and Kano issued practice directions for small claims courts introducing pre-trial conferences and limit adjournments. “ Finally, customs integrated more agencies into its electronic data interchange system, and port authorities launched an e-payment system, speeding up both exports and imports.”
She said that over the past three years, Nigeria’s score had steadily improved in the World Bank Doing Business Report, after decline in both score and ranking in the years preceding 2016.
Oduwole, who is also PEBEC Secretary, said that in 2017, Nigeria moved up by an unprecedented 24 places on the Doing Business rankings. The presidential aide said that for the first time ever, Nigeria was also recognised as one of the top 10 reformers in the area of doing business that year.
Oduwole said that Nigeria was being recognised as one of the top 20 most improved countries, which had implemented the most reforms in 2019. According to her, the validation confirmed that PEBEC’s strategy was working and would continue to push even harder.
“These improvements in the standing of Nigeria trail the reform agenda being implemented at national and sub-national levels across the country since the establishment of PEBEC by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016.
“The PEBEC works towards the fulfilment of the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), which is striving to deliver sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by restoring growth, investing in our people, and building a competitive economy.
“PEBEC, through the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, has carried out over 140 reforms so far in a bid to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business.
“With the impending ratification of the Companies and Allied Matters Bill and the introduction of the Business Facilitation (Omnibus) Bill, 2019 in view, along with other pending regulatory, judicial and sub-national reforms, Nigeria is poised to meet its goal of being a top 100 ranked economy by 2020.
“The announcement indicates that our goal of moving into the top 70 doing business destinations by 2023 remains achievable,” she added.
Meristem presents Outlook for 2021 titled ‘Bracing for a different future’
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space.
Meristem Securities Limited, a leading capital market conglomerate has recently launched its economic outlook report for the year 2021. The outlook report titled ‘Bracing for a Different Future’ highlighted in depth a wide range of issues relevant to an evolving future. With a global economy that has been scarred by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic economy was not left out, as the Nigeria economy slipped back into a recession, amplifying the structural weakness of the domestic economy in the form of weakening exchange rates, rising inflation, among others.
In Meristem’s H2:2020 Outlook: “Unmasking Value in a Scourge”, Meristem had warned that the threat of a second wave of new infections was very much a possibility. As a result, the recovery of economic activities would remain fragile until a vaccine is developed. Hence, much would depend on strict compliance with social distancing and healthcare measures as economies gradually re-opened. The Deputy Managing Director of Meristem, Sulaiman Adedokun, stated that while the rising number of daily infections pose a threat to economic activities, we expect a rebound of the domestic economy”.
Launching the outlook “Bracing the future” during a webinar attended by institutional investors, corporate clients, retail investors amongst other industry professionals, Sulaiman also commented on the equities market highlighting that “The equities market recovered from deep selloffs to finish as the best performing equities market last year, citing unattractive yields in the fixed income market, excess liquidity and a resilient corporate performance in the middle of a pandemic as major factors which drove the market.” “We expect these factors to persist thereby sustaining the positive momentum of the market through the better part of the year; in the first half of the year, we expect the financial market to be dominated by attractive dividend yields and the low yield in the fixed income market,” Sulaiman added.
The face of work has changed and many corporate organizations and their employees are rapidly adopting cutting-edge technology to meet the future of work in a COVID-19 era. While fielding questions from journalists about how the organization has deployed its business continuity plan, Sulaiman expressed that “The pandemic has influenced changes amongst people globally and we have enabled this change in our organization by utilizing the power of technology, we have also adopted a work from home culture that enables team collaboration through technology, we intend to maintain this even beyond the pandemic.”
Meristem offers a wide a range of services that cater to all classes of investors regardless of the stage in their financial journey, services like stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory help clients to access various opportunities within the capital market. Via Meritrade, an online stockbroking platform, investors can trade stocks from anywhere around the world as well as better manage their shares and enjoy access to the most exclusive market research.
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space. In 2018, the Nigerian Stock Exchange awarded Meristem as the Best Digital Broker of the Year. In the same year, Meristem also became the first Nigerian asset management firm to attain compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) by the CFA Institute. Still, in 2018, Meristem received two nominations from Business Day, for the best Money market Fund and Equity Fund.
The firm has remained a leading player in Nigeria’s competitive investment market with a solid reputation as a highly professional and client-centric firm, helping to take their clients farther.
FG’s plans on economic growth depend entirely on business climate – Osinbajo
Osinbajo has stated that every plan of the government relating to economic growth depends greatly on the business climate in Nigeria.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has told heads of agencies that every plan of the government relating to economic growth, and improving job creation & opportunities, depends on the climate of doing business in Nigeria.
This was revealed by the media aide to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in a social media statement on Wednesday, after the VP spoke at a PEBEC meeting where a survey presentation exposed pitfalls in some regulatory agencies which affected a conducive business environment in the country.
VP to FG agencies: Every one of our plans around sustaining economic growth, improving job creation & opportunities, whatever it is that we plan to make life better for the citizens, depends entirely on the environment in which people have to do business. It determines whether…
— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) January 20, 2021
The Vice President said the business climate “determines whether they will invest their resources, expand their businesses, and it just determines practically everything.”
Osinbajo directed that all heads of MDAs of Nigerian regulatory bodies be presented with the outcome of the survey to get their feedback and seriously deal with the situation promptly because there must be accountability.
What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that Prof. Osinbajo, during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government, in partnership with the private sector, would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.
Malabu Oil Scandal: Prosecutors demand JPMorgan documents
U.S bank, JPMorgan has been ordered by a court to present documents of a transaction regarding the $1.3 billion Malabu oil field sale.
Prosecutors at the Milan Court holding a trial for the $1.3 billion Malabu oil field sale have demanded that U.S bank JPMorgan present documents of a transaction as part of the corruption case regarding the sale of the oilfield.
This was revealed in a report by Reuters, as the court case over the sale of the oil field continues. Prosecutors claim that nearly $1.1 billion was stolen by Nigerian politicians and middlemen, with former oil minister, Dan Etete, keeping half.
Prosecutors demanded that the Milan court accept emails sent by UK authorities, coming from a separate case launched by the Nigerian government against the bank for its role in the controversial deal.
The emails include a transaction between Nigerian Attorney General Mohammed Adoke Bello and JPMorgan using the address of a company owned by another Nigerian named Aliyu Abubakar. Prosecutors allege that he paid $500 million in cash as part of a bribe.
Both men have also been charged for corruption relating to the deal, with both pleading not guilty.
The second email includes two JPMorgan executives expressing views on whether to transfer $1.1 billion to accounts related to Nigerian banks. The Milan prosecutors said the emails were valid, stating that a Swiss and Lebanese bank had also expressed doubts over the transaction.
The Milan court said it would make a decision over the emails on the 3rd of February. The verdict of the court case is expected to be announced in March 2020.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that Dan Etete, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, said that the $1.3 billion sales of Malabu oil field to Shell and Eni in 2021 was legally perfect, with zero traces of corruption in the deal.
- Royal Dutch Shell announced that it would write down its investment in the controversial Malabu OPL 245 offshore field in Nigeria.
- Malcolm Brinded, an ex-Upstream Chief of Shell Petroleum, told international prosecutors that the sum of $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni in 2011 to acquire OPL 245 offshore field was lawful, and he had no reason to think it was illegal.
- A lawsuit filed by the Nigerian government against US bank JPMorgan Chase, claiming over $1.7 billion for its role in a disputed 2011 Malabu oil deal, will proceed to trial. The six-week trial in London is expected to commence on the first available date after November 1 2021, meaning that proceedings may not begin until 2022.