Nigeria's impressive ranking in the latest World Bank Doing Business report is proof that the country can do better if Nigerians faced its challenges headlong, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande said this when a team from the World Bank formally presented the 2018 Doing Business report to the Federal Government yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He expressed optimism that the nation can improve on the ranking.
In the latest World Bank Doing Business index, Nigeria climbed up 24 places and was placed on the list of 10 most reformed economies globally.
According to the report, Nigeria made significant progress across several indicators comprising starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
"This shows that we can do better in whatever we commit ourselves to do in the country. There is nothing exceptional about Nigeria's problems; it is just for us to find the best ways to resolve them," the Vice President said.
Osinbajo further praised the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) for its commitment and efforts since its inception. "We are all excited about the latest ranking, it just shows we can do much better as a people," the Vice President said.
In his remark, the country director of the World Bank in Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, praised the efforts of the federal government, stating that the improvement was proof of the leadership provided by the Buhari administration, and the impact of its Ease of Doing Business reforms.
Benmessaoud added that Nigeria's leap in the World Bank Doing Business rankings was "an important signal from Nigeria's federal government's effort, and also an important signal from Africa's largest economy."
He said, "We come to congratulate Nigeria and the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, for the reforms that have been undertaken that provided for Nigeria to jump into the indicators for doing business in Nigeria.
"This is a tribute to this council, which has been regularly meeting and focusing on the issues that influence doing business in Nigeria. And this council has done a great job under the leadership of His Excellency, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN."
The World Bank also pledged its support for the Federal Government in its bid to further the improvement of Nigeria's investment climate.
PEBEC, which is chaired by the Vice President, was established by President Buhari in 2016, with a mandate to sustainably and progressively make Nigeria an easier place to do business. The members of the council include the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, who is vice chair; while other PEBEC members are 10 Honourable Ministers, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the CBN governor.
It would be recalled that the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), which became fully operational in October 2016, is coordinated by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment.
The meeting was also attended by other ministers, including the Honourable Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele.