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Economies Grow when Regulators and Investors are Prosperity Partners

Nigeria is rated 170th out of the 189 countries covered in the DBR 2015. It is instructive to note, as pointed out by the World Bank, that "the economies performing best in the Doing Business rankings are not those with no regulation but those whose governments have managed to create rules that facilitate interactions in the market place without needlessly hindering the development of the private sector."

For Regulators in Nigeria: A Food-for-Thought

The DBR 2015 in its Overview poses a crucial question and then goes ahead to provide answers to it. Nigeria's business and economic regulators must ponder on this question:

“What do entrepreneurs need to pursue a great idea?”

And the Report answers thus:

"First of all, they need the ability to give legal form to the idea – that is, to start a business –simply, quickly and inexpensively and with the certainty of limited liability. They also need the certainty of a well-designed insolvency system, in case the idea fails to work out. In addition, they will need to hire people to help realize the idea, will probably need to obtain financing (both equity and credit) and, in today's increasingly interdependent global economy, may in many cases need a simple way to import and export. And they will need a straightforward way to pay their taxes."

"Sound business regulations are fundamental to all of this. The right business regulations enable good ideas to take root, leading to the creation of jobs and to better lives. But where business regulations make it difficult to start and operate a business, good ideas may never see the light of day and important opportunities may be missed. Budding entrepreneurs, daunted by burdensome regulations, may opt out of doing business altogether or, if they have the resources, take their ideas elsewhere."

What can Nigeria learn from Ghana?

It is important to know that Ghana, a smaller country when compared to Nigeria in terms of population (Ghana's population is 26 million), economic size (Ghana's GDP is $117b) and natural resource endowment, is rated 111th on the GCI and 70th – one of the top 5 in Africa – on the EODBI for 2015. How did Ghana achieve these with its minimal resources?

While speaking at a session on "Improving Nigeria's Ease of Doing Business" at the 9th NBA-SBL Conference on Business Law, Mawuena Trebarh, CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) declared that legislation that hamper businesses mar economic growth. She further stated that the GIPC, which is a true first port of call for any foreign investor in Ghana, is constantly at the forefront of the reform of laws which hamper strategic investment.

The location of the GIPC in the Presidency confirms that the Presidency has taken ownership of and will drive this important regulatory process. Bureaucratic bottlenecks and administrative tensions are eliminated creating a business registration and approval process that is seamless and quick. Their 3 watchword, Mrs. Trebarh stated, is "we want to be a prosperity partner with investors, and this is how Ghana drives its Ease of Doing Business."