The African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage) has commenced survey and data collection for the production of the fourth edition of its flagship report – the Business Environment and Competitiveness across Nigerian States (BECANS). The survey and data collection exercise which is usually one of the most tasking, expanded and diligent aspects of the BECANS project is usually carried out in all the states of the federation, involving key ministries, departments and agencies of government whose activities impact directly on the overall business environment.

Addressing a pool of researchers at the training session in Enugu, organized by the Institution for the would-be field officers, the Executive Director of AfriHeritage, Professor Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, revealed that the BECANS IV project instrument (questionnaire) features reviewed indicators. According to him, this is to reflect the realities of the current situation in terms of technological innovations and development as a major contributor to ease of doing business. He further revealed that the instrument used in the previous BECANS survey had eighty-eight (88) indicators while the current one being used for BECANS IV has about one hundred and eighteen (118) indicators.

Explaining the organization and structure carefully put in place by the Institution to ensure a diligent data gathering exercise, AfriHeritage’s Director of Research who also doubles as the BECANS IV Project Coordinator, Dr. Nathaniel Urama the survey/data exercise which kicked-off in the last week of January 2019 is aimed at gathering data for thorough assessment of the overall business environment among the thirty-six (36) states and the Federal Capital Territory. It brings to fore, the various policies, projects and programs being put on ground by various states’ administrations including the federal government towards improving the business environment in the country. “The exercise portends maximum benefit to everyone – the various states’ government, the local and foreign investors, as well as other stakeholders. This is because through the BECANS project, the investor is able to know which state in the country is more investment friendlier, governments are also able to measure their own progress in terms of putting in place investment and business friendly policies as compared to other states in the country”, he says.

Some of the benchmarks and indicators being used in the instruments of assessment include, how secured is the capital city as well as other towns in the state; what are the state and functionality of the public utilities provided in the state; are the regulator authorities up and doing with their jobs; and how compliant are the people in responding to the rules and regulations governing business transactions in the state.