The World Bank has placed Nigeria at 131st position out of 183 countries in the world assessed on the basis of ‘ease of doing business’, 2013. The ranking places Nigeria’s neighbouring country, Ghana, at 64th position, which entails 67 places ahead of Nigeria.
It is against this backdrop that the Federal Government inaugurated two Standing Inter-Ministerial Committees; to address the high cost of doing business, and the poor rating of Nigeria’s investment climate. Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engr. Mustafa Bello, made this revelation at a recent breakfast dialogue with the private sector organized by the Economic Summit Group.
According to him: “Doing Business and Competitiveness Committee is charged with the responsibility to regularly monitor, review and recommend improvement on existing policies and legislation that govern the act of doing business in the country. Investor Aftercare Committee is charged with the responsibility to consider the complaints from investors on account of apparent irregularity and inconsistency in the implementation of Government policies, Bello said.
He further said the Committee on Doing Business and Competitiveness, as a first step, identified 10 doing business indicators as follows: starting business, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits.
Others are: paying taxes, trading across borders, getting electricity, and resolving insolvency. The committee according to Bello, prioritized the indicators based on their impact on the competitiveness of the Nigerian business environment.
It commenced with starting a business and trading across borders, identified the constraining factors pertaining to them, and came up with some reform recommendations.
Explaining further, the executive secretary said the committee recommended that government should “encourage the use of on-line system for reservation of company names; delegate to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) the authority to collect the stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) at the time of company registration among others. make involvement of accredited professional intermediaries optional in the process of company registration; eliminate the requirement to notarize the declaration of compliance (CAC 4); eliminate the signage fee currently imposed on all businesses by Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency; conduct an intensive communication campaign to educate users about the option of on-line name reservation and payment,” among others.