Nigeria’s Record Of Ease Of Doing Business Responsible For Economic Woes- Lawmakers
By Bukar Bolori
Nigerian lawmakers have complained about the nation’s economic situation, insisting that Nigeria’s record of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) has not been stable and was responsible for the ongoing challenging confronting the country.
This was one of the positions of the Nigerian lawmakers at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament during the Presentation of Country Report of Nigeria at the 2023 First Ordinary Session of the Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.
The lawmakers in the report said: “Nigeria’s record of EoDB is not stable and it is reflective of the ongoing challenges confronting our economy. To improve the situation on 14 February, 2023 the Federal Government under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, signed into law the Busimrss Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023, a legislation that fosters an enabling environment for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
“They explained that the Act among other things would promote accountability and transparency for government agencies and business operations as well as boost technology use in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDGs). It would also encourage government to have legally binding agreement with the public, essentially detailing processes, documentation, and timeliness while providing amendments to some Acts such as Companies and Allied Matters Act, The Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and miscellaneous provisions) Act, Nigeria Export Promotion Council Act, National Housing Fund Act and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Acts.”
They however said with the implementation of the law and consolidation of the reforms, there would be result in seamless public and private sector partnerships, thereby improving domestic businesses and attracting foreign investments while extensively impacting the economy.
They also said there are presently concerns over the smooth implementation of the 2023 national budget since the budget is largely funded by crude oil benchmarks and loan grants which are momentarily plummeting., lamenting that “this is as a result of inability of the country to find substantial buyers for its crude oil,” insisting that “this deplorable situation could be compounded by strikes in the French refining sector and maintenance at European plants where Nigeria refines her crude oil.”
The lawmakers equally expressed worries over the debt profile and its management by the Nigerian government.
They said: “According to the World Bank, Nigeria used 96.3 percent of its revenue generated in 2022 to service debt and the constant fiscal deficit has aggravated the nation’s public debt stock.
“The fiscal deficit was estimated at 5.0 percent of GDP in 2022, breaching the stipulated limit for a federal fiscal deficit of 3 percent. This has kept the public debt stock at over 38 percent of GDP. As a result, the GDP is projected to be negatively impacted by the trade and financial flow repercussions of the anticipated global economic slowdown in 2023.”
They however expressed optimism, insisting that “the federal government of Nigeria is leveraging on the country’s international partnerships to stabilize the economy.
“In this regard, Nigeria and China have deepened bilateral trade relations in agriculture and agro-allied industries, mining, and investments in gas development as well as the digital economy.”