By Ibrahim Sheriff (Gold)
Kwara state has been ranked 30th of the 37th States, including FCT on the Nigeria’s subnational Ease of Doing Business survey, eight (8) months after the State government inaugurated -person Ease of Doing Business Council.
It would be recalled that in November 2020, Gov. AbdulRazaq led Kwara state government inaugurated a 12-person Ease of Doing Business Council to drive its efforts to lift bureaucratic bottlenecks that hurt businesses as well as attract new investments to the state, as one of the recommendations of the ease of doing business Report 2020.
The Ease of Doing Business Council Chaired by the Head of Service Mrs Modupe Susan Oluwole, has former Finance and Enterprise Commissioners, Florence Oyeyemi and Abdulwahab Agbaje; Commissioner for works Engr Rotimi Iliasu as members, while GMD Harmony Holdings Ltd. Abdullahi Abdulmajeed was named Secretary to the Council.
Other members of the Council includes Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service, Mrs Folashade Omoniyi; Special Assistant on Geographic Information System, Abdulmutollib Shittu; Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye; Technical Assistant to the Governor of Investment Kabir Shagaya; Director of Economic Affairs; and chairman of the Kwara State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mining and Agriculture (KWACCIMA) Dr Ahmed Raji
However, the Council appeared no to have met its targets as Kwara state scored 4.7, joining the league of nineteen (19) other States that scored below 5.45 average score in the subnational Ease of Doing Business survey, to take 30th position.
The survey conducted by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council chaired by Vice President, Prof- Yemi Osinbajo saw Gombe, Sokoto and Jigawa topping the list, while Zamfara, Taraba and Delta emerging tops from bottom.
According to the report, the subnational survey methodology framework was developed by the PEBEC-NEC (National Economic Council) Technical Working Group.
The group comprised representation from the nation’s six geopolitical zones as well as the NEC secretariat, the Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and other private sector representatives.
The homegrown indicators on which the states were measured were in four thematic areas – Infrastructure and Security, Transparency and Access to Information, Regulatory Environment and Skills Workforce Readiness.
Each state was rated on a 10-point scale across indicators, which provided the basis for calculating the overall performance of the state, the group explained.
It added that the empirical field survey was constructed by KPMG Professional Services between November 2020 and January 2021.
According to the report, among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Gombe came tops with a score of 7.69; Sokoto came second with a score of 6.88 while Jigawa came third with 6.79.
On the other hand, Zamfara occupied the 37th position with a score of 3.54; Taraba came 36th with a score of 3.91 while Delta occupied the 35th position with a score of 4.32.
Other high performers included Bauchi and Akwa Ibom which tied at the fourth position with a score of 6.54; Kebbi which came 6th with a score of 6.49 and Anambra, 7th, with a score of 6.35.
Other states close to the bottom of the list included Edo, 34th with a score of 4.38; Abia, 33rd with a score of 4.48 and Kano, 32nd with a score 4.51.
The Infrastructure and Security theme included four indices, namely, electricity, transportation, primary healthcare, and security.
Transparency and Accessibility to Information had two indices – investment promotion and state information structures.
The Regulatory Environment had four indices – paying taxes, starting a business, enforcing contracts and land, property, acquisition and development.
The Skills Workforce Readiness theme is standalone indicator that measured technical and professional skills of the states.
In electricity as an indicator, Akwa Ibom had the highest score of 7.85; Bauchi had 6.80; Kebbi had 7.02, Kano had 6.35 while Sokoto had 6.32.
In transportation, Akwa Ibom had 7.85; Buachi had 6.80; Kebbi had 7.02; Kano had 6.35; and Sokoto had 6.32.
Lagos came 20th on the list, scoring an overall average of 5.28. In infrastructure and security, the nation’s commercial nerve centre scored 3.71; in transparency and accessibility to information, it scored 6.49; in regulatory environment, it scored 3.62 while in skills and labour, it scored 3.62.
The summary section of the report said improving the business regulatory environment across Nigeria would be key for the country’s economic growth.
It added, “Nigeria’s heavy dependence on oil poses structural challenges that have made it difficult to achieve sustained growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.
“Over the past four years, the business regulatory reform agenda has taken on an inclusive approach with the involvement of the federal and state governments in the design and implementation of reform initiatives”, it added.