Nigeria’s Business Environment Still Hostile, Says PWC Chief Economist

The Chief Economist,PricewaterhouseCoopers  Nigeria,  Andrew Nevin, has said that there is a lack of political will for the country’s private sector to flourish.

Nevin who Co- founded Nevinomics, said the  reality of  “doing business is still too complex and too costly in Nigeria.”

He added, “The best structure for the economy is to have strong large companies that create room for SMEs to be part of their ecosystem.

He in a monitored  tweet on Friday that the large Small and Medium Enterprises sector is a sign that business is too difficult because, if Nigeria was functioning correctly, there would be over a “100 Dangotes in the economy.”

The expert said that large companies like Dangote Group Plc raise standards  and increase productivity, as well as create opportunities for others.

Nevin said, “To begin with, it is very difficult to grow a big business when the economy is not growing and the  Nigeria economy essentially is not growing.

“In addition, as many on this thread have pointed out, the uncertainties of doing business are simply too high.

“A very good example is GoKada  they invested heavily in Lagos, and the Governor was supportive then for perhaps very good reasons security requires that the business is banned, and the GoKada investment has been lost.

“Another critical issue here is whether the SME is in the informal or formal sector, on balance, we would prefer SMEs enter the formal sector – productivity will be higher, taxes will be paid, but whether an SME wants to enter the formal sector is a choice.

“If the cost and complexity of entering the formal sector is too high, then the SME will elect to stay in the informal sector with all the attendant issues, including that they can be subject to harassment by the authorities.”

He said, PwC Nigeria and Nevinomics have consistently alerted Nigeria over the years, that more has to happen at the State level.

The chief economist said the reality is that Nigeria is a big, complex country and every State and region has its own economic comparative advantages.

Nevin noted, “The direction for each State and at an overall level, there is still a lack of political will for the private sector to flourish. 

“The reality is that the private sector needs to be 10-15 times bigger than it is today for  Nigeria to be prosperous in 2030, but it is simply not happening and of course Covid-19 has made the situation much more difficult for many reasons.”

Nevin who is also a member of the advisory board of  Lagos Business School, said Nigeria really needed to move on from the mindset of an oil economy.

He said while the Federal Government had been making efforts, the result is not noticeable.

He said, ” The reality is progress is minimal, the bottlenecks remain huge and very difficult to run a business in Nigeria and hence the costs of goods and services are far too high.

“Presidential Enabling Business Environmental Council has done their best under the leadership of the incredible, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, is the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, but the environment continues to have too many MDAs, too many overlapping rules and a lack of clarity.” 

PwC Nigeria had said the country needed inclusive and sustainable growth of 6- 8percent in GDP terms.

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