The UK-Aid Department for International Development (DFID) has urged governors of the five states in the South-East to increase the Ease of Doing Business in the Region.
Dr Mark Abani, Consultant to the UK-Aid DFID, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday.
Abani, who facilitated a workshop for South-East Governors Forum (SEGF) on “Regional Learning Event on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB)”, described EoDB in the region as not easy.
He said the process of registering business was herculean with exorbitant cost and poor contract enforcement.
The consultant said the governors must close ranks and provide basic infrastructure for business such as power and efficient transport system.
According to Abani, to get investment you must reach out, create the enabling environment and reduce the number of offices prospective investors have to visit before completing transactions and also reduce the cost.
“The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria is not easy and because it is recognised that it is not easy, that is why Nigeria is paying particular attention to the World Bank ranking.
At the moment, we still rank in the last quarter, in the bottom half and as long as we continue to rank low, will serve as disincentive to invest both locally and international.
“Some of the things that were measured in the last report were; how easy is it to start a business? How easy is it to register land?, and how expensive is it to register land?.
“How easy is it to enforce a contract, this is a major problem, it can take up to 800 days to get a contact enforced,” he said
Abani said the workshop would equip participants with properly designed action plan which would be reviewed in six months and 12 months to monitor progress.
He commended the governors for approving the workshop for the staff adding that it would enable them critically evaluate the challenges and proffer solutions.
“The governors have shown commitment by asking the SEGF to put together a workshop like this, where we dissect why we have been doing it wrongly and also put in place action plans to correct it.
“The governors must get themselves together and ensure that they get a fair share of the infrastructure for business to thrive.
“How much power is the region getting from national grid that can power a good number of industries?
“The governors are trying but they must throw their support behind the demands of DISCOs to implement the contract that they signed,” he said.
Prof. Uchenna Ortuanya, Director-General of SEGF, applauded the governors of the region, pointing out that three out of the five top states in EoDB rating in Nigeria were in the region.
Ortunya, however, said the states in the region lagged behind in the global best practices and that there was so much room for improvement.
He said the forum would continue to support states in the region to improve business environment and quality of governance.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including EoDB Desk Officers from five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.