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Ease of doing business: Lagos, Rivers, Ogun ranked low as Gombe, Sokoto lead

Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers states have been ranked low among other states of the federation in ease of doing business.

According to the World Bank, the ranking of economies is determined by sorting the aggregate ease of doing business scores. The aggregate ease of doing business score for each economy is the simple average of their scores on each of the topics included in the ranking: 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.

Nigeria as a nation is ranked 131 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings.

Domestically, each state is expected to have policies that would attract businesses and make such a state the investor’s destination of choice. The ease of doing business in a State has to do with how easy it is for an investor to get their businesses registered; how convenient it is to acquire lands and landed property; is the state secure? Is there electricity? How friendly are government policies and taxation? How motorable are the roads? Is the State prone to natural disasters like flooding?

On different occasions, governors of each State do embark on foreign trips to woo investors to their States, but only a few usually succeed in wooing foreign investors to their States. In some cases, local business owners run into problems with the State governors, leading to years of litigations. An example is a crisis between the Kogi State Government and the Dangote Group over Obajana Cement Factory.

As a result of the imbroglio between the Kogi State Government and Dangote, another company, the BUA Group has told the State government that it would no longer be interested in the 50,000 hectares of land allocated to it in 2012 for a cement factory. In a letter to the Kogi House of Assembly, the BUA Group said the land has never been accessible, nor is it viable for business.

“You can go ahead and revoke the Certificate of Occupancy Nos.KG.11713 as we are not interested,” the BUA said.

It was reports that in the latest rating of ease of doing business released by BudgIT, states with higher Internally Generated Revenue do not make the top 10.

For example, Lagos, despite being the commercial nerve centre of the nation; the state with the highest IGR and a mega city, is ranked 20th among the 36 States of the federation in ease of doing business.

Ogun is rated 19th despite being the nation’s industrial capital and one of the states with the highest IGR in Nigeria as of 2021.

Ironically, three northern states, Gombe, Sokoto, and Jigawa, are rated as the top three States where it is mostly easy to do business in Nigeria. Gombe has one of the lowest IGR in Nigeria, while Sokoto and Jigawa come 18th and 7th respectively in IGR ranking.

According to Budgit, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kebbi, Anambra, Ondo, Katsina, and Bayelsa ranked 4th to 10th in the ease of doing business table.

It was gathered that Rivers, which is one of the richest states in the nation is sharing the 11th position with Imo, leaving Kaduna, Plateau, Osun, Benue, and Ekiti at the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 18th positions.

In the report, Adamawa took the 21st position behind Ogun and Lagos, while Kogi, in the face of the crisis between it and Dangote Cement, ranked 22nd.

Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Yobe, Niger, Enugu, Cross River, Oyo, Kwara, Borno, and Kano struggled to follow one another from the 23rd to the 32nd rank.

Meanwhile, Zamfara State ranks lowest on the ease of doing business table. Zamfara is followed by Taraba, Delta, Edo, and Abia as the five states from the bottom.

According to Budgit, the data about each state’s rank were gathered from the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.

It was reports that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) is a specialized agency established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 for Nigerian businesses. It mainly ensures that doing business in Nigeria is easy through reforms and policies.

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