Afriheritage Institution has unveiled its Business Environment and Competitiveness Across Nigerian States (BECANS) III 2016 report to a huge acclaim at an event held at its office in Enugu.
This came just as the Enugu State government revealed plans to set up a one-stop shop for businesses in the state.
Special adviser to the Enugu State governor on small and medium enterprises, Mr. Anayo Agu, who made this known at the public presentation of the report held Tuesday, December 12 at the African Heritage Institution, Enugu, said the planned one-stop shop would take effect next quarter.
Agu who represented Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at the occasion, said that the one-stop shop would be established in the next quarter and will be a central place for business registration, business promotion and enquiries.
Unveiling the BECANS 111 2016 report, Governor Ugwuanyi commended Afriheritage for their contributions to national development, urging them to “sustain the effort because it is about life, it is about the economy”.
Presenting an overview of BECANS, the executive director, Anambra State Property Promotion Agency, Dr. Ifediora Amobi, said that BECANS gives a unique array of domesticated benchmarks and indicators for assessing and tracking the business environment in the states.
He noted that there were so many gaps in governance and “we as Nigeria has not attained the point we are heading to”.
According to the ANSPPA boss, BECANS 1 2007 report was published and unveiled in Abuja. In 2010, there was BECANS 11 report. The BECANS II was an improvement from BECANS I report and it had more national and international coverage. The BECANS III report 2016 has more indicators and the whole essence of BECANS is to benchmark the State to learn from each other improve on their areas of weaknesses.
He disclosed that, “as a research institute, BECANS I, II had ranked Anambra at the bottom. They were doing a lot of things wrong and the state went back and analysed the report and picked the areas that affected the state from starting a business. They started making amends and today Anambra State’s economy has improved”.
Dr. Amobi urged states to get the reports, read it and effect corrections on the areas they had not performed well.
Presenting the BECANS 111 2006 report to the public, representative of the research team, Dr. Nathaniel Urama summarized the report thus: “Business environment affects everyone. When the environment is good the business grows. Good business environment is essential for rural productivity. BECANS 111 report therefore cuts across national issues.” The report had four benchmarks, 19 measures and 88 indicators, he said, adding that the benchmarks included infrastructure and utility, regulatory services, promotion and security.
Dr Urama advised states to look at their position at a particular indicator and make amends. He added that the indicators were ranked using a scale, noting that it does not mean a state had done absolutely nothing if its score was zero. For instance, the report shows that in business development, South-west scored 55.5 percent while North-west had 24.9 percent. In infrastructure and utility, Kwara State led with 81.5 percent, while Yobe State was at the bottom table with 42.5 percent.
In regulatory services, Anambra and Lagos states were ranked first with 67.5 percent while Katsina was the lowest with 37.5 percent.
The rating on security also showed that Anambra took the lead with 70 percent while FCT was ranked 31st with 13.8 percent. He disclosed that Lagos State came first in the states’ overall scores with 59.4 percent while Bayelsa came last with 42.6 percent. Generally, Dr. Urama said that 60 percent of the states performed above the national average while 40 percent scored below the national average.
Earlier in his opening remark, the executive director, Afriheritage Institution, Professor Ufo Okeke-Uzodike observed that economic indicators remained uninspiring especially for businesses which are finding difficult to thrive. “Power remains a very scarce resource. There is issue of security, a lot of work needs to be done there for people to be free to invest and BECANS needs to provide much more of what should be done.”
He said that BECANS series is an advocacy for private sector and civil society, adding that it enables assessment and peer review by Nigerian states.