Kaduna state has assumed a strong lead in Nigeria’s sub -national ease of doing business ranking which measures competitiveness among the country’s thirty six states according to a new report.
According to the report, “Kaduna stood out by implementing reforms in starting a business, dealing with construction permits and registering property. As a result, the state improved its average distance to frontier score by 11.21 percentage points, from 54.76 to 65.97, and is now the top-ranked state in registering property and enforcing contracts.”
Four states including Gombe, Nasarawa, Zamfara and Cross River State fell in ranking compared to their previous positions with Cross Rivers suffering the bieggest slump from an average score of 52.67 to 49.2 in this new ranking and is also the least ranked being the only state with an average ranking below 50.
Quite a number of states were ranked above 60 to rival the top state of Kaduna and they include Jigawa, Kano, Borno, Bauchi and Katsina while the commercial centre of Lagos is held down at 54.90.
The report found that it is “easier to start a business in FCT Abuja and Lagos, deal with construction permits in Niger and Kano, register a property in Kaduna and Zamfara, and enforce a contract in Kaduna and Bauchi.”
A more detailed look at the indicator rankings reveals several observations.
“Although the average distance to frontier score worsened in a handful of cases, it improved by an average of 3 percentage points across most states since 2014,” the report said.
“ This indicates that many states are adopting good practices, which translates into a less burdensome business climate for local entrepreneurs.
“No single state dominates in all areas benchmarked. In fact, all but three states rank in the top half in at least one indicator. Similarly, all but five states rank in the bottom half in at least one
indicator. A few states stand out, though.
“Kaduna and Jigawa are the only two states that rank among the top five in three of the four indicators. On the other end of the spectrum, Cross River, Ebonyi and Imo rank below the 30th spot in
three of the four indicators. From a public policy viewpoint, these results show that most states, if not all, have something to learn and something to showcase.”
The report noted that “there continues to be substantial variation in business regulations and their implementation across Nigerian states, with significant gaps between the best and worst performing states across all four indicators.”
And whereas “Niger, Kano and Jigawa—having a distance to frontier score of almost 80 percentage points on dealing with construction permits—would rank in the top 25 of the 190 economies measured globally by Doing Business, Lagos on the other hand would rank in the bottom quartile of economies.”
Sinee the Doing Business in Nigeria 2010 study, 32 states have implemented 77 reforms across the four regulatory areas bench- marked. Ekiti while Enugu and Ogun have been the most consistently active states since 2010, implementing five reforms each during the
The pace of reforms in the states has accelerated in recent years, although this is largely due to reforms implemented at the federal level for business registration. Kaduna, Enugu, Abia, Lagos and
Anambra were the five states that made the biggest strides toward the frontier of good practices.
In registering property— where Kaduna made the biggest jump in its distance to frontier score—the state restructured its land registry, now called the Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS); replaced percentage-based registration fees with flat fees; and made the issuance of the governor’s consent much more efficient.
This overhaul resulted in one of the most significant improvements recorded in the Doing Business in Nigeria series since 2008. It made one-third of procedural requirements redundant, reduced the time to register property by more than two months and cut the cost by almost one-third. KADGIS also improved the quality of infrastructure by scanning all land titles as well as property maps; the digitization process is underway.
In the area of registering property, eight states implemented reforms making the process easier, as opposed to ten states between 2010 and 2014. In 2015 Lagos reduced several of its fees and removed the requirement to file an affidavit with the high court before being able to conduct a property title search.
Bayelsa and Delta implemented similar improvements. In Abia the state’s Geographic Information System (ABIAGIS) made considerable progress in digitizing its records, introducing online procedures and increasing administrative efficiency.
Benue and Plateau authorities introduced temporary measures cutting most state fees in half; Kwara and Ogun also reduced their fees. In Enugu authorities have scanned most of the land titles, improving the quality of infrastructure.
And in Gombe a new procedure requiring the frontloading of evidentiary documents in court by the plaintiff and defendant led to a reduction in the time to obtain a court decision for a land tenure dispute.
Four states (Bauchi, Enugu, Katsina and Sokoto) have implemented reforms making it easier to enforce contracts. Enugu cut the time nearly by half, from 970 days to 532. The state’s chief judge issued a practice direction for all magistrates, with the goal of completing civil cases within six months. In addition, the judiciary hired 15 more magistrates in 2015,
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