Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reject World Bank's Rating, Civil Society Network Urges Nigeria

Ahead of the planned October 29 2014 release 2015 Doing Business report and ranking of some 189 countries, including Nigeria by the World Bank, a civil society network under the aegis of Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet) has urged the Nigerian government to reject the ranking.
In a release dated the 24th of October 2014, the network enjoined the government to formally challenge the World Bank’s rating of countries as it considers it as "an activity for which the Bank has no mandate and legitimacy to conduct." 

Since 2002, through this annual publication, the World Bank has been benchmarking and ranking countries according to the ease of doing business. The Doing Business is based on the principles of privatization, deregulation, low taxation for corporations, and ‘free market’ fundamentalism. It rewards the lowering of social and environmental safeguards, therefore allowing the exploitation of natural resources and human capital by foreign corporations and local elites.

This flagship project of the World Bank is used for other benchmarking projects, such as the 2013 Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA), created by the G8 to “develop options for generating a Doing Business in Agriculture index. 

According to the network, “The Doing Business and the BBA establish the economic and regulatory environment to favor big agribusinesses and allow large-scale land investments in agriculture, at the expense of smallholder farmers who produce 80% of the food for the developing countries,” said Atayi Babs of Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet).

The network revealed that with the Bank setting standards for investors and bilateral donors around the world, driving significant money-flows towards the Doing Business best performers, governments, including that of Nigeria, refrain from challenging the methodology based on creating race to the bottom.
Instead, the governments are forced to set as their policy goal an improvement in their next Doing Business ranking. They turn to the World Bank advisory services to be guided on implementation of regulations that will improve their score. 
This according to the civil society group, "undermines countries’ sovereignty and necessary public debate on economic and development policies as made evident by the multi-continental campaigns for land justice."
“There are no winners in the race to the bottom created by the Doing Business rankings, which are today’s version of the Structural Adjustment Programs that devastated livelihoods of millions of people through the withdrawal of state intervention and the forced liberalization of national economies in the 1980s and 1990s,” Babs added
World Bank's release of the 12th Doing Business report has attracted widespread opposition from across the globe, including from within the Bank. 

Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDEVNET) is a national coalition of civil society organisations, in Nigeria brought together by a common agenda of promoting and advocating for climate related and equity based initiatives for sustainable development.
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