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FG yet to fix key indices determining ease of doing business—STOAN boss

Contrary to claims by the federal government that ease of doing business in Nigeria is rising exponentially as MDAs have stepped up service seamlessness, the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has said that ease of doing business is beyond issues about government agencies.

According to her, “most of the sub-indices used by the World Bank to measure the Ease of Doing Business in 190 countries of the world are still begging for government attention in the country”.

“Key indices include critical infrastructures which must be fixed by government before doing business in Nigeria can be flexible.

“The infrastructural gap bedevilng the country can be addressed within a medium-term framework if government so desires.

Continuing, Princess Haastrup averred that “The Ease of Doing Business ranking of a country is based on 10 sub-indices which include starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; and getting credit.

“Others are protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and resolving insolvency.

“A cursory appraisal of Nigeria’s operating environment reveals a yawning gap in some of the sub-indces. On getting electricity and the cost of electricity; we are just not there at all. I am sure every Nigerian can talk extensively on this. It should concern any well-meaning Nigerian that we still face this huge problem almost two decades into the 21st Century.

The STOAN boss noted further that “In Nigeria today, the cost of generating electricity through generators is killing businesses. The generators we use are also sources of major environmental and noise pollution. On getting credit; this is still a major challenge especially for small businesses; and for those businesses that are able to access credits, the cost of borrowing is high.

“On paying taxes; I think many businesses in Nigeria are still suffering from multiple taxation. On trading across borders; our cargo clearing processes are still primitive. Customs checks are duplicated, manual and too laborious. There are also too many government agencies involved in cargo examination at the port and land border posts. All of these slow down trade and add to the cost of doing business.

“On enforcing contracts; we must note that no investor will bring their money to the table until we begin to respect the sanctity of contracts.”

She added further that “Under the right leadership, the economic successes recorded by a country like Singapore will fade in significance in comparison to ours.

Unemployment and poverty will belong to our past if we create the right environment for businesses to thrive. The way to make create the right environment is to address the limiting factors highlighted earlier”.