Since 2003, AfriHeritage (then AIAE) has been leading research and advocacy on the business environment in Nigeria with the aim of promoting the growth and competitiveness of the private sector. In the course of such research and advocacy, it has been observed that there is an acute shortage of disaggregated analysis of business environment and investment climate in line with federal structure of the country. Rather, most existing assessments (for example, Global Competitiveness Reports, Doing Business Indicators, Business Environment Surveys, Investment Climate Surveys) World Economic Forum (WEF), World Bank (WB), Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) are cross-country comparisons, which treat Nigeria as a homogenous entity. In effect, the business environment and competitiveness (BEC) reports on Nigeria simply depict national aggregates and ignores differentiation across the states.
The few existing state-level assessments have been disparate, discontinuous and not sufficiently coherent to support state-level evidence-based advocacy by private sector and civil society organisations. Nigeria is a federal state and national and sub-national governments share concurrent jurisdictions in many policy and institutional spheres that impinge on the business environment and private sector. Hence, analysis that does not reflect variations across states is too general and has little utility for state-level business environment appraisals, monitoring and feedback. The current shortage of authoritative and comprehensive assessments of state-level business environment and competitiveness (BEC) across Nigeria underscores the need for disaggregated analysis based on comparable indicators.
It is against this background that the Institution is now leading a consortium of research organisations, private sector and civil society organisations, which include the Department of Economics, Federal University of Technology (FUT), Yola, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Human Rights and Law Services (HURILAWS) in a flagship Nigerian sub-national business environment and competitiveness project. The project, christened Business Environment and Competitiveness across Nigerian States (BECANS), seeks to systematically assess, update and report the business environment and level of competitiveness among Nigerian states. Unlike previous and ongoing assessments, this project explicitly integrates BEC survey with state-level advocacy in order to foster critical constituencies for BEC reforms in the states. Such constituencies are the principal stakeholders in this project and will, based on the survey results, engage respective State Governments to optimize their policy domains and constitutional responsibilities for improving the business environment.
The project will: