Research and Assessment group honours Governors of Anambra, Niger, Plateau and Enugu States with awards and Special recognition for good business environment and performance.
By Victor Ugborgu
The fourth edition of Business Environment and Competitiveness Across Nigerian States, BECANS 2020, a research and assessment program, was unveiled recently in Enugu by African Heritage Institution. The event attracted many dignitaries across the country including those that participated visually from other parts of Africa.
In his key note address which focused on the need for regional integration in Nigeria: “A perspective from the South East”, approach to transformative change in Nigeria; Chinedu Nebo, a professor and former minister of power condemned the lukewarm attitude of south East politicians towards human capital development saying that they were only interested in occupying political positions and massive acquisition of wealth for the unborn children at the expense of the masses. Nebo urged state governments to take the findings and recommendations of the report seriously while trying to improve the business environment for the overall benefit of their people.
He called on states to cooperate to take advantage of one another’s comparative advantage since ‘there is a need for states to have joint ventures at bi-state level or regional level to enhance and facilitate greater growth’. He emphasized on need to link the entire country by road, rail, air and rivers to make the country a global village.
Other speakers include Denis Yuni, who joined the event visually from Losotho, Onyeukwu Onyeukwu, Ifeyinwa Achike, both Professors; Stan Ukeje and Chinweike Uba. These erudite scholars were part of BECANS 2020 technical working group.
Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, a Professor and Executive Director, AfriHeritage said BECANS was the flagship research, survey and dissemination initiative of the institution which runs in successive cycles for the promotion of better business environment throughout the country. He was elated that after much delay and uncertainties, the unveiling of the fourth edition finally came to pass.
According to him, BECANS is poised to continue to evaluate business environment measures and indicators thereby provide the basis for competition and reforms across the states in partnership with other notable organisations in the world. “AfriHeritage does this by using four benchmarks derived from theoretical knowledge and research evidence of the critical bottlenecks in the businesses in the country. The benchmarks are developed from combination of measures which, in turn, are drawn from indicators”.
He noted that the report document would be a veritable tool for peer review among states and help policy makers and executives to adjust to best business practices for the overall good of the citizenry and entire country.
According to him, the report exposes the underlying factors why some states are getting it right especially for those with good policies, infrastructure and amenities to support businesses and fair tax policies among others.
“BECANS-4 provides a roadmap for every state government to improve its business environment and better the lot of their people and Nigerians in general. “It took time, some constraints, especially difficulty of getting information and over N100 million to get the survey carried out and the final report document printed. “So, it is worthwhile and something done meticulously by the best professional hands,” he said.
The Nigerian Governors Forum office as well as hundreds of captains of industries and policy makers within and outside the country joined the launch visually.
It also featured awards to the top three performing states, which included: Anambra, Niger and Plateau States. There were also awards of excellence to some industries and service providers. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi received “Special Recognition for Invaluable Contributions Towards the Promotion of Social Protection Practice in Enugu State” at the event.
Arinze Chilo-Offiah, Special Adviser to the Governor on Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Investment Promotion who represented the Governor said that the state government would continue to improve the business environment and put infrastructure to ensure growth of businesses. He assured a continually conducive business environment for investors and traders to get returns on their investment within Enugu State.
The report was sub-themed: “Transforming Nigerian Business Environment for Increased Investments, Economic Growth and Inclusive Developments”.
He said that the government within a few years had trained thousands of youths in modern skills and entrepreneurship to be employers of labour and owners of their businesses.
“We will not relent in our pursuit to continue to improve the business environment through commitment to innovations, infrastructure provision and security that will guarantee that the state continues to remain the number one business destination.
“We will still remain focused on business environment development, youths’ empowerment and skill training to ensure that poverty will be kicked out of the state and everyone living in the state is financially empowered,” he said.