Nigeria has tortously hung on to its status as the biggest economy in Africa but has also had to deal with the unflattering designation of being one of the most terrible place to do business.
It has consistently ranked low among countries around the world in almost all areas of business. In the last World bank’s Doing Business Report which considers ease of doing business across 190 economies, Nigeria’s position across most areas of doing business showed the country as one of the worst places to do business.
For instance, for five areas; paying taxes, registering property, trading across borders, getting electricity and dealing with construction permits; Nigeria ranked in the bottom twenty.
Where the new Nigerian visa changes come in
The Nigerian government has been working to improve on the country’s business climate. In fact, the government engaged the services of external resource persons to manage the economy. The country’s vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, also launched a 60-day action plan last month to improve the business climate in Nigeria.
As part of that 60-day plan to prop up the Nigerian business climate, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas with a view to make them “more customer friendly”.
To that end, the NIS will harmonize airport immigration forms to reduce the stress of paperwork for visitors. Visas on arrival will also be made available to high net-worth investors coming for urgent business and to visitors from countries without Nigerian consulates. In addition, to make it easier for foreigners to obtain residence permits, NIS has opened 28 additional offices across the country.
Foreigners are not the only ones who will benefit from the relaxing measures on the Nigerian visa. For Nigerian citizens who lose their passports or change their names after marriage, the need to travel to Abuja to get their new trave documents has been steamied. The new Nigerian visa rules feature an allowance for state immigration offices and foreign missions to now be able to re-issue passports.