Southwest Nigeria has a high level of economic development and commercial opportunities in comparison to other Regions in the Country. Nevertheless, States within the Region have not ranked highly in the different national and sub-national studies such as World Bank/PEBEC and the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCNC) on the Ease-of-Doing Business survey that assesses the regulatory and competitiveness of business environment.
The States in the Region; Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ondo States are all at varying stages in an attempt to address bureaucratic constraints and administrative bottlenecks affecting the business environment as evidenced by scores in the last subnational World Bank EoDB study published in 2018. The rankings of the Southwest States indicate that the Region is faced with a multiplicity of regulatory challenges that inhibit business growth and development, and could discourage prospective investors.
The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, in partnership with the DFID’s Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) has been supporting the states in the Southwest Region through strategic stakeholders’ engagement with State and non-state actors in developing a robust response to weaknesses and creating an enabling environment for businesses in the Region.
In order for citizens doing business in the Region to feel the impact of an improved business environment, a sub-national EoDB assessment was carried out by DAWN Commission, with support from DFID/PERL, on the Southwest Region comprising Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States. Different programmes and engagements have been undertaken to support states in the Region in addressing the bottlenecks identified and provide actionable solutions in collaboration with the stakeholders.
It is the combination of World Bank/PEBEC EoDB assessment and the DAWN-led assessment together with issues highlighted that informed the need for a regional EoDB strategy for the Southwest. Consequently, DAWN Commission, in collaboration with Regional stakeholders, and with support from DFID-PERL/ARC facilitated the “Development of a Regional Ease of Doing Business Strategy”.
The goal of the strategy is to remove impediments that affect business activities in the Region, taking into account both regulatory and competitiveness barriers to the business environment. Furthermore, a Southwest Ease-of-Doing Business Committee has been constituted to work with the States MDAs in addressing and proffering solution to the bottlenecks to doing business in the Region, taking into account the 11 indicators recommended by the World Bank/PEBEC.
Lastly, a Session on Ease-of-Doing business was also held in September 2018 in Akure, Ondo State which gave stakeholders the opportunity to validate the strategic EoDB document designed to improve the Region’s business environment and World Bank/PEBEC EoDB ranking. Likewise, there was an inauguration of the Regional Ease of Doing Business Committee (SWREC) during the Akure session. The mandate of the committee is to work with the states EoDB committee and MDAs in states working on improving the business environment to implement the regional EoDB strategy
1. Key Findings and updates
• Gaps in the activities of the MDAs
• There are no structured coordination
• The MDAs still works in silos
• The bureaucratic nature of the civil service still evidence
• Difficulty in getting needed information/materials.
2. Lessons Learned from the DAWN-DFID/PERL-ARC Initiatives
• It has keep in the consciousness of the people interfacing or handling business, the need to make and keep the business environment conducive.
• Good service delivery is an integral component of good governance
• Better way of implementing a reform
• How best to engage the state actors and non-state actors stakeholders.
• Understanding the peculiarity of each states to reform interventions
• Understanding the political economic analysis of the states
3. Identified Good practices
• Virtually all the states are doing something positive on the reforms implementation
• The states have embraced the reforms and the need to implement it.
• There is an MDA designated to work on EoDB in the states
4. NEXT STEPS:
• Provide support to the states based on the areas they are weak across the indicators
• Give a technical support to the key MDAs that directly concern with the Ease of Doing Business in the states, e.g Mandate mapping to address overlapping functions and bureaucracy to service delivery.
• Hosting a stakeholders meeting to cascade the learning across the Region and to develop the capacity of frontline staff.
• The Regional EoDB committee to work with the states committee where they exist and help to create one where they are yet to constitute one.
The DAWN Commission/DFID-PERL engagement on Ease of Doing Business in Southwest Nigeria is in tandem with the Federal Government’s “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan” (ERGP) Improving Business Environment and the Global Sustainable Development goals (SDG – 1, 2, 8).
Consequently, the Region’s strategic EoDB vision by 2023 is “A Southwest Region with a business environment that is economically viable, accessible, inclusive and highly attractive for local and foreign investors”.