Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says the Federal Government is working on operational, regulatory and legislative actions with a view to moving the country to the top 100 in the world on ease of doing business ranking.
Ahmed disclosed this at a news conference on the forthcoming 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday.
She explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had taken steps toward making the country investment friendly and competitive.
She said part of this was the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), to address constraints to businesses and the Executive Orders focusing on Ease of Doing Business.
According to her, this order will ensure the increasing local content that have been signed to support the diversification efforts.
The Minister added that the implementation of these policies enabled Nigeria to move 24 places to 146th from 169th position on the ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank.
Ahmed said: “We have also established a Competitiveness Advisory Council and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the six geo-political zones, as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector.
“The initiative is in line with modern trend of providing infrastructure to business clusters to improve and boost economic activities in such zones as found in China and other fast growing economies.
“We believe that these initiatives will improve trade balances, investment and create jobs.
“Government is also working toward launching a broad range of sector–specific activities to attract investment and drive growth through improving regulatory efficiency.
“In this respect, the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF)is being refocused to de-risk value chains in the mining sector and diversify national income streams.”
Ahmed disclosed that, to expand transportation and other infrastructures that would make the country competitive for investment, government was willing to work with the private sector in commercially viable projects.
She said the greatest challenge facing government was inadequate revenue to execute the numerous projects and other initiatives it intended to implement.
According to her, new sources of revenue is being identified and enhanced ,while coordination and cohesion among revenue generating agencies, is being improved.
The minister noted that this year’s summit is expected to present a unique opportunity for discussion among leaders and citizens to set an agenda for Nigerians to deepen discussions on issues and challenges facing the country.
She expressed hope that the summit would also assist in proffering solutions on how to maximise the large workforce, reap the demographic dividends and achieve a competitive economy that was inclusive, leading to improved standard of living and economic prosperity for the citizenry.
On Sept. 12, which was presented at the lecture, Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business score improved by 1.37 points from 51.52 distance to frontier in 2018 to 52.89 in 2019.