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Doing Business In Africa
Every year the World Bank releases its annual report Doing researched and written by a team of experts. The Doing project provides objective measures of regulations and their enforcement across 181 economies and selected cities at the sub national and regional level. It looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.
The first Doing report, published in 2003, covered 5 indicator sets in 133 economies. This year’s report covers 10 indicator sets in 181 economies. The project has benefited from feedback from governments, academics, practitioners and reviewers. The initial goal remains: to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the regulatory environment for business.
Doing provides a quantitative measure of regulations for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and closing a business—as they apply to domestic small and medium-size enterprises.
Doing is limited in its scope, and this should be kept in mind while reading the reports and findings. As such, it focuses on 10 topics, with the specific aim of measuring the regulation and red tape relevant to the life cycle of a domestic small to medium-sized firm. Also, Doing does not cover all regulations or all regulatory goals in any economy. As economies and technology advance, more areas of economic activity are being regulated. Doing measures regulation affecting just 10 phases of a company’s life cycle, through 10 specific sets of indicators.
In 2008, the project released its first sub-national report on Sub-Saharan Africa in the Doing series, entitled, Doing in Nigeria 2008. The findings of the report suggest that Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa in general has embarked on a series of reforms that make it easier to start and run a business. For instance, in the past year the Corporate Affairs Commission has received an unprecedented number of applications In January 2008 alone, 4,625 new companies were registered in Nigeria. Of course these developments are applauded by the advanced economies and while Nigeria compares favorably with many African countries, it lags behind the developed world. In OECD countries registering a requires on average just 6 procedures, 15 days, and 5 percent of income per capita.
One of the challenges facing the Nigerian authorities is to publicize the reforms that are being carried out. For instance, many legal practitioners and accountants who register companies in Nigeria still remain unaware of or unwilling to do at the
new local Corporate Affairs Commission branches and Stamp Duty offices. Instead they use approaches from the past, traveling to Abuja or forwarding applications to affiliated law firms in the capital. These are options that lengthen the process and make it more costly for entrepreneurs. Thus the job of reformers is not finished. These agencies must inform the public and convince that there are new and better ways to register companies. Reformers also must ensure that the new services function smoothly. When the online search on the availability of a company name was first launched, some lawyers tried it but were discouraged because the system was often down. Others were unable to find sellers of the prepaid cards needed to use the system. As a result, a perception spread that the system does not work. Most professionals registering companies for their clients continue to check the availability of a company name in person, missing out on this valuable service.
Despite these reforms, Nigeria’s overall ranking did not improve because other countries have been reforming even more vigorously. In 2006/07, 98 economies introduced some two hundred reforms. Among these there are some other African countries as well, but some of the problems common to the continent still persist; Problems including corruption, high tax rates, and antiquated practices.*
Fully aware of these challenges facing the continent, a Lebanese family Saranabu Sa-based in West Africa continues to deliver excellence and quality with five generations of experience in trading, industry, and investment. Founded by two brothers, Mr.Ramses R.Najem and Mr. Sammy R. Najem, the Saranabu Group has developed a regional presence through its established trading partners over the years in the following countries: Nigeria, Niger, Togo, and Ghana.
Mr. Sammy R. Najem, one of the co-founders of the company states, “as a third world region, our customers face unpredictable changes in the financial, logistic, and economic laws and regulations that are accompaniments to normal troubles the rest of the world wakes up to daily and we are fully aware of this.” And he continues, “None of the customers handle this product exclusively. Oils and Fats are always a base product in a range of products required on a regular basis. Therefore it is always advisable to outsource or leave this import to a reliable supplier who can provide the quality, service, logistics, finance and expertise needed to fulfill their needs.”
With 15 years of experience in the Oils and Fats trade, the Saranabu Sa Group has earned its reputation as reliable suppliers to both industries and merchants because it provides innovative and cost effective solutions this its customers in this challenging environment.
Click here to read the rest of Doing Business In Africa. If you enjoyed this article, you also might like our other stories about Palm Oil in Nigeria.