According to the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigeria ranks 146 out of 190 nations in the global Ease of Doing Business.
Commission Executive Secretary Yewande Sadiku said this while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)’s ongoing 43rd Annual Conference and Dinner on Thursday in Lagos.
The Conference was tagged, “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Role of Regulatory Agencies.’’
The ranking was conducted by the World Bank, said Ms Sadiku, who was represented by Mutawalli Kukawa, Acting Director, Investment Relations, NIPC.
Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business rating improved by 1.37 points from 51.52 distance to frontier (DTF) in 2018 to 52.89 in 2019, according to the report outlined at the lecture.
She added that the Commission had adopted some proactive policies aimed at enhancing the investment promotion of Nigeria, thereby helping to build a business-friendliness.
“The Proactive Investment Promotion strategies include focusing on key strategic partners and countries, identifying high impact sectors, better balance investors’ rights with obligations, improving investor experience and using feedback to develop the business environment.’’
Others are: proactively inviting target companies to Nigeria and hand-holding them through decision making and the implementation process, and encouraging more Nigerians to invest in the country.
“We encourage states to develop investment promotion agencies, so that they will be specifically charged with the responsibility of promoting the states,’’ she said.
However, Ms Sadiku warned investors to make sure they abide by the nation’s relevant investment laws.
She encouraged government to allow investors to generate more employment that will have a major effect on the economy.
ICSAN President Bode Ayeku said earlier that this year’s theme was marked, “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Role of Regulatory Agencies,’’ was part of the institute’s contribution to the development of the economy.
“Ease of doing business is very relevant at this stage of our socioeconomic development, getting it right will enable us to make significant progress towards achieving the much sought after diversified and inclusive economy,’’ he said.
However, Mr Ayeku observed that the current business bottlenecks would generate a loss of foreign investment to other countries with more appealing and business-friendly procedural rules.
The president promised the Institute’s assistance to work with appropriate stakeholders to achieve the vision of government to be among the top 100 nations in the Doing Business Index of the World Bank by 2020.
KPMG Nigeria, Head of Tax, Regulatory and Peoples ‘ Services, Wole Abayomi, said absence of professionalism was one of the difficulties in encouraging business-friendliness.
He said that, in order for Nigeria to enjoy a bump-free business environment, professionals and professionalism must be entrenched from the top to the players in the business world.
Mr Abayomi said that the business climate in Nigeria can only be beneficial if a crop of workers are experts in their respective fields and organizations at each regulatory agency.
“One cannot give what one does not have, we must reject all manner of cronyism and enforce meritocracy, so both the public and private sector must pursue professionalism.
“It’s expected that personnel of repute who know their onions be in the vanguard of making those laws and regulations that would impact positively on the economy, this must start with the people in electing their leaders and our leaders appointing competent people into strategic sectors,’’ he said.
Mr Abayomi added that real professionals ‘ characteristics include specialized knowledge, skills, sincerity and integrity, accountability, self-regulation and discipline, personal image and reputation.
However, the lapses noted were due to factors such as: monopoly, lack of meritocracy in recruitment, disparity in people’s quality, brain drain, particularly in the health sector, and stagnation of public sector reforms.
He decried the lack of meritocracy in the recruitment processes in the nation, saying that “federal character could be operated without being unprofessional,’’ if those qualified from different regions are placed according to their qualifications.
Mr Abayomi recommended that, in order to strengthen professionalism, in order to make it easier to do business, it should be necessary to raise standards in the public sector in order to ensure that it does not become a liability.
“Without the best people, led by exemplary leaders, embedding professionalism in the organisations they lead, it will remain elusive in the public and private sectors,’’ he said.