It seems Nigeria’s government has realised that it’s very important to write its own story by itself instead of an external body. One of such areas the Federal Government is taking upon itself is the Ease f Doing Business rating in 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Before 2020, when the government began the survey, World Bank of Nigeria was in charge of using some key indicators in rating states in Nigeria in its Doing Business Index.
Rating Nigeria’s State In Terms of Doing Business by Nigerians
Concerned by Nigeria’s over-reliance on crude oil and the need to promote non-oil products and other key sectors that drive development, a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was inaugurated in conjunction with the National Economic Council (NEC).
PEBEC which was headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has representatives from each of the six geo-political zones, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), and representatives other key sectors and stakeholders in business and investment.
The committee noted that improving the business regulatory environment across Nigeria would be key for the country’s economic growth.
According to the PEBEC, KPMG Professional Services was the brain behind the empirical field survey which was designed between November 2020 and January 2021.
Four key indicators were used in assessing the ease of doing business in each of the states.
The criteria used to measure the states are:
- Infrastructure and Security
- Transparency and Access to Information
- Regulatory Environment
- Skills Workforce Readiness
Furthermore, the indicators were segmented into key areas known as indices, they are:
Infrastructure and Security
- Primary healthcare
Transparency and Accessibility to Information
- Investment promotion
- State information structures
- Paying taxes
- Starting a business
- Enforcing contracts
- Land, property, acquisition and development
Skills Workforce Readiness
This theme independently measured the technical and professional skills of the states.
Electricity as an indicator
Transportation as an indicator
Again, Akwa Ibom, which was once described as the next investment destination by Osinbajo top the table using transportation. It scored 7.85 to be the number one state in Nigeria that provides motorable road while Bauchi scored 6.80 to come second; Kebbi came third with 7.02 while Kano and Sokoto came fourth and fifth with 6.35 and 6.32 respectively.
On the overall indicators, states were each rated on a 10-point scale, Gombe came first with 7.68 while Zamfara came last, scoring 3.54, making the bandit-ravaged state the worst state to do business in the North and in entire Nigeria.
Lagos, Nigeria’s Commercial City
Ranking of Lagos state on the list of ease of doing business isn’t impressive as the state occupied the 20th position with an overall score of 5.28.
Interestingly, some of the oil companies in the oil-producing states still prefer to have their administrative offices in Lagos
Borno, Epicentre of Boko Haram
Despite the activities of the deadly terrorist organisation in the state, killings, and attacks on military barracks and residents majorly outside the state capital, Borno ranked better than Kano, the most populous Northern state.
It also ranked better than Abia and Edo.
This is significant
The state may have not performed in terms of security, but Prof Babagana Zulum, governor of the Borno continues to rebuild and invest massively in infrastructural development in the state among others.
Nigeria on the global Doing Business Index
The committee boasted that Nigeria moved up 39 places in the World Bank Doing Business rankings since 2016, but a critical study of the ranking shows that Nigeria is among the worst African countries to do business in the 2020 ranking
Mauritius, Kenya, and Ghana are better destinations for investment, which is one of the reasons some investors closed shops in Nigeria and relocated to Ghana.
But if Nigeria’s leadership shows commitment to the local rating without being politicised (as peculiar to virtually every FG programme), the country might begin to see improvement in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The 36 governors in their respective must wake up from their dependence on monthly allocation from Abuja.
They must look inward, they need to create enabling investment environment that will boost the confidence of the investors in the system, this is one of the key ways to reduce unemployment and crime in their state.