Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country has moved up 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Buhari asserted this in his Democracy Day speech on Friday.
Since the wake of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria had been celebrating Democracy Day on May 29 – when new elected officials are sworn in. But in 2018, Buhari moved it to June 12 due to agitations by pro-democracy groups and other concerned Nigerians.
On June 12, 1993, Nigeria had the freest and fairest election in its annals, and business mogul, Chief MoshoodAbiola, was coasting home to victory when the military junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida annulled it. Abiola, while trying to claim the mandate, eventually died in prison.
In the Friday’s Democracy Day speech, which covered every aspect of the nation’s life, Buhari said, “Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, from 146th to 131, and is now rated as one of the top 10 performing countries.
“This development is due to the Visa-on-Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50 per cent.”
The president said his administration’s objectives had remained to stabilise the macro-economy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.
He added, “We have witnessed 11 quarters of consecutive Gross Domestic Product growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91 percent in 2018 to 2.27 percent in 2019, but declined to 1.87 percent in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.”
To stabilise the economy, he disclosed that the monetary authority took steps to build the external reserves,“which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.”
The external reserves grew from $33.42bn on April 29, 2020 to about $36bnin May 2020, which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments, he added.