- Business Made Easy in Nigeria
The relevant authorities in Nigeria have begun the processes of dealing decisively with factors that have always made doing business in Nigeria difficult is quite inspiring. Specifically, recent steps taken by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to run faster with the mission of the government and activate the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council which it set up last year is a comforting indication of seriousness. The hope is that this new spirit would endure and the annual reproach that comes with World Bank’s release of “Doing Business Index” in which Nigeria always performs woefully would be removed.
In the current ranking (2017) Nigeria is rated 169 among 190 economies in ease of doing business. In 2016, the country was ranked 170. For policy makers trying to improve an economy’s regulatory environment for business, a good place to start is to find out how it compares with the regulatory environment of other countries. Doing Business provides an aggregate e-ranking on the ease of doing business based on indicator sets that measure and benchmark regulations applying to domestic small to medium-size businesses through their life cycle. The ease of doing business ranking compares economies with one another; it benchmarks economies with respect to regulatory best practice, showing the absolute distance to the best performance on each Doing Business indicator. When compared across years, the distance frontier score shows how much the regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs in an economy has changed over time in absolute terms, while the ease of doing business ranking can show only how much the regulatory environment has changed relative to that in other economies.
Until 2017, there are ten critical factors that define healthy environment for business in this global context: they include 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. Business journals have constantly reported that economies in Asia Pacific and Australia have not been feeling the recession and even depression heats that have beset the West since 2008 and the annual rankings have always shown why countries in the contiguous regions have been thriving: the ease of doing business there is real.
It is clear that Nigeria’s Acting President, a Law professor, is well aware of why Nigeria has not fared well in the regulatory environment category of ease of doing business measures. And the fervency with which he has been pursuing the new policy thrust to meet most of the global standards shows that there is a glimmer of hope.
For instance, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council at its expanded meeting chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo approved a 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business. The plan is to be implemented in three priority areas: entry and exit of goods, entry and exit of people as well as government transparency and procurement.
To show how serious the government is, the expanded meeting was attended by the leaders of the legislative arm of government, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara. It was thus resolved at the parley that the number of agencies operating at the nation’s ports be streamlined to six, a monster that had been difficult to confront.
Fittingly, the Acting President took the business-unusual spirit to the Nigeria’s main international airport on 23 February where he reiterated that the government would ensure ease of doing business in Nigeria.
At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Osinbajo noted: “As part of our work on the Ease of Doing Business, on making the environment friendly, not just for local businesses but also for those who want to come and do business in Nigeria, the airport obviously is one of the major places where we need to ensure that facilities are working and that things are being run properly…”
Accordingly, the reforms expected to improve Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Index 2018, are to be implemented by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat without fail.
Besides, the reforms will also upgrade the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC’s) online portal to ensure document upload capabilities for new businesses to be registered online.
On entry and exit of people, the Council had observed that the visa on arrival and 48-hour visa processing procedures of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) were already operational with various levels of compliance.
Meanwhile, the Council agreed to collaborate with Lagos and Kano State governments to make processes for obtaining construction permits and registering properties faster, cheaper and easier. This is a step in the right direction as Lagos and Kano are Nigeria’s commercial capitals.
It is also hoped that the National Assembly would quickly pass the National Collateral Registry Bill and the Credit Bureau Services Bill to ease access to credit for SMEs.
It is, indeed, important to underscore the legislative support the Senate President pledged when he noted at the meeting that the fact that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council wanted the bills passed within 60 days did not infringe on the independence of the legislature.
This immediate migration from rhetoric to action by both arms of government over ease of doing business in Nigeria is how democratic engagement for development should be.
Global Oil Drops as Coronavirus Infections Rises in India and Other Nations
Oil prices declined on Monday during the Asian trading session amid rising concerns that the surge in coronavirus in India and other nations could force regulators to enforce stronger measures at curbing its spread and eventually affect economic activity and drag on demand for commodities like crude oil.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 22 cents or 0.33 percent to $66.55 per barrel at 8:19 am Nigerian time on Monday, following a 6 percent surge last week.
The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined by 18 cents or 0.29 percent to $62.95 per barrel, after it gained 6.4 percent last week.
The decline was after India reported 261,500 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the country’s total cases to almost 14.8 million, second to only the United States that has reported over 31 million coronavirus infections.
“With … a resurgence of virus cases in India and Japan, topside ambitions continue to run into walls of profit-taking,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi.
Businesses in Japan believed the world’s third-largest economy will experience a fourth round of coronavirus infections, with many bracing for an additional slow down in economic activity.
While Japan has had fewer COVID-19 cases when compared with other major economies, concerns about a new wave of infections are fast rising, according to responses in Reuters poll.
On Tuesday, April 20, 2020, Hong Kong will suspend all from India, Pakistan and the Philippines because of imported coronavirus infections, authorities stated in a statement released on Sunday.
India’s COVID-19 death rose by a record 1,501 to hit 177,150.
Global Markets Near Record Peaks and Will Get Stronger: deVere CEO
As the FTSE 100 hits 7,000 points for the first time since the Covid pandemic, global stock markets are poised to “get even stronger”, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.
The observation from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as London’s index jumped over the important threshold in early trading in London, gaining over 0.5% to 7024 points.
Mr Green notes: “London’s blue-chip index is up 40% since the worst lows of the pandemic.
“This landmark moment represents the wider optimistic sentiment gripping global markets which are near record peaks.
“We can expect global stock markets to get even stronger as investors look to seize the opportunities from economies reopening.
“They are looking towards economies rebounding in a post-pandemic era due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus, pent-up cash and demand, and strong corporate earnings.
“The current ultra-low interest rate environment and the under-performance of bonds will also act as a catalyst for stock markets.”
However, the CEO’s bullish comments also come with a warning.
“I would urge investors to proceed with caution as there are some headwinds on the horizon, including relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, which could be coming to a tipping point in coming weeks.
“As such, in order to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate risks, investors must ensure proper portfolio diversification.”
Mr Green concludes: “A variety of factors are going to drive global stock markets. Investors will not want to miss out and should work with a good fund manager to judiciously top-up their portfolios.”
Refinitiv Expands Economic Data Coverage Across Africa
Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insights, Refinitiv today announced the expansion of its economic data coverage of Africa. The new data set allows investment managers, central bankers, economists, and research teams to use Refinitiv Datasteam analytical data for detailed exploration of economic relationships and investment opportunities among data series covering the African continent.
Securing reliable, detailed, timely, locally sourced content has not been easy for economists who have in the past had to use international sources which often can take many months to update and opportunities to monitor the market can be missed. Because Africa is a diverse continent, economists and strategists need more timely access to country-specific data via national sources to create tailored business, policy, trading and investment strategies to meet specific goals.
Africa continues to develop critical infrastructure, telecommunications, digital technology and access to financial services for its 1.3bn people. The World Bank estimates that over 50% of African inhabitants will be under 25 by 2050. This presents substantial opportunities for investors who can spot important trends and make informed decisions based on robust and timely economic data.
Stuart Brown, Group Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, Refinitiv, said: “Africa’s growing, dynamic and fast evolving economies makes it a focal point for financial markets today and in the coming decades. As part of LSEG’s commitment to empowering the global markets with accurate and timely data, we are excited about making these unique datasets available via the Refinitiv Data Platform. Our economic data coverage of Africa will provide our customers with deeper and broader inputs for macroeconomic analyses and enable more effective investment strategies and economic research.”
Refinitiv Africa economic data coverage:
- Africa economics content comprises around 500,000 nationally sourced time series data covering 54 African nations
- Content is sourced from national statistical offices, central banks and other key national institutions
- The full breadth of economics categories in Datastream including national accounts, money and finance, prices, surveys, labor market, consumer, industry, government and external sectors
- International sources including OECD, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Oxford Economics & more provide comparable data & forecasts across the continent
Refinitiv® Datastream® has global macroeconomics coverage to analyze virtually any macro environment, and better understand economic cycles to uncover trends and forecast market conditions. With over 14.2 million economic times series map trends, customers can validate ideas and identify opportunities using Refinitiv Datastream. Access its powerful charting tools, 9,000 pre-built chart templates and chart studies for commonly used valuation, performance, and technical and fundamental analysis.
Refinitiv continually grows available data – the China expansion in 2019 covered a unique combination of economic and financial indicators. Refinitiv plans to expand Southeast Asia covering Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia with delivery expected in 2021. This ensures that Refinitiv will have much needed emerging market economic content.
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