By Dipo Olowookere
The World Bank has released its Ease of Doing Business raking for 2019 and Nigeria, which moved up by 24 steps in the 2018 log, slipped by one step in the latest standings.
Nigeria, which claimed the 145th position last year from the 190 countries surveyed, moved down to the 146th position in the new ranking.
Business Post reports that countries like Senegal, Lebanon, Niger, Tanzania and Mali claimed the 141st, 142nd, 143rd, 144th and 145th positions respectively.
Last year, when the 2018 ranking was released by the World Bank, Nigeria was among the 10 economies of the world to have recorded a significant improvement in their ease of doing business.
Economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1–190. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.
The rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate distance to frontier scores on 10 topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. The rankings for all economies are benchmarked to June 2018.
Business Post reports that in the latest ranking, Mauritius was the only Sub-Saharan African economy to join the group of top 20 economies this year.
According to World Bank, Mauritius has reformed its business environment methodically over time, making reforms more than once in almost all areas measured by Doing Business over the past decade.
Following seven reforms in the area of property registration captured by Doing Business since 2005, for example, the time needed to register property has decreased more than 12 times; the time needed for business incorporation has decreased almost 10 times as a result of four reforms in starting a business.
Two economies that enter the top 20 this year, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, have maintained such a reform momentum.
The United Arab Emirates is the highest ranking economy in the Middle East and North Africa region, with reforms captured in four areas.
Six reforms in Malaysia were measured by Doing Business, resulting in the second highest regional improvement in the ease of doing business score.
Twelve of the top 20 economies are from the OECD high-income group; four are from East Asia and the Pacific, two are from Europe and Central Asia and one each is from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
In the latest report, the top three economies this year are New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, exemplifying a business friendly environment.
World Bank said in the report that, “Substantial variations in performance among Sub-Saharan African economies present an opportunity for policy makers to learn from the experience of their neighbours.
“In the area of getting credit, for example, officials in Angola (ranked 184) and Eritrea (186) could learn from the experience of Rwanda and Zambia (both ranked 3).
“The two latter economies share many of the good practices found in OECD high income economies, including reliable secured transaction laws and robust credit information sharing available through credit bureaus or registries.”
Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France
By Adedapo Adesanya
Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.
The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.
The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.
The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.
This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.
According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.
Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”
“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.
Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”
Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.
We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.
Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.
According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.
“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.
“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.
“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.
Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.
“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”
The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.
“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.
On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.
“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”
JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%
By Dipo Olowookere
For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.
While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.
According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.
However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.
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