BECANS: The Business Environment and Competitiveness across Nigerian States (BECANS) is the flagship research, survey and dissemination initiative of African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage).
The initiative runs in successive cycles of research, surveys, dissemination and policy dialogue for the promotion of better business environment throughout the country. Each cycle begins with desk research (the scientific validation of models, methods and indicators) and followed by survey/data collection, data analysis, report writing, publication, dissemination and dialogue between the government and stakeholders in private sector and civil society.
Until recently, most investment climate assessments relied on aggregate indicators of the quality of a country’s policy, regulatory and institutional environment. Investment climate assessments were cross-country comparisons based on universal set of measures. While aggregate indicators of investment climate at the national level are useful, the aggregate picture masks differences in business environment across the states. In particular, any national picture of business environment in Nigeria that does not take into account potential differences across subnational jurisdictions cannot give a fair and true picture of the reality. This is because Nigeria’s federal constitution allows considerable autonomy for subnational governments to shape the business environment in their respective locations. In addition, differing policy and institutional contexts as well as historic social and economic conditions over space and time underscore the potential variations in the business environment.
Before BECANS was initiated, there was no assessment of the business environment at the subnational level in Nigeria. To address this shortcoming, BECANS focuses on disaggregated business environment analysis at the state level. With state-level disaggregated data, state governments will have the empirical basis to guide policy, institutional and regulatory improvements. Also, stakeholders (private sector and civil society) will get evidence basis to support advocacy and dialogue for business environment reforms in respective states of the country.
Working with stakeholders to measure, benchmark and monitor the business environment is the overarching role of the programme on business environment and competitiveness across Nigerian states (BECANS). Monitoring and reporting the business environment is important for designing and implementing policy and institutional reforms by the federal, state and local governments. On the other hand, an independent and objective assessment of the business environment is useful tool for private sector and civil society to advocate and dialogue with government.
Expected Impact of BECANS
The expected impact of BECANS include: (1) to inform and influence/stimulate policy and institutional reforms for better business environment across Nigerian States; (2) to engender mutual learning, peer review and dissemination of best practices among Nigeria’s state governments; and (3) to provide systematic framework for regular self-monitoring and benchmarking of policy and institutional reforms by state governments.
Goal and Objectives
The ultimate goal of BECANS is to promote evidence-based reforms of the business environment in Nigeria, with focus on the subnational jurisdictions (state and local governments). The initiative is designed to supply independent research-based evidence on the business environment across Nigerian states, in an ongoing manner. Such evidence is essential to inform and influence advocacy by non-state actors (particularly private sector organizations) and improve the quality of dialogue between government, private sector and civil society. In effect, BECANS provides benchmarking tools for business managers, investors and policymakers to identify specific obstacles to improved competitiveness, thus stimulating critical thinking about strategies to overcome them.
BECANS publication is uniquely designed to report and disseminate the results and findings of the second cycle of the BECANS. The first report, BECANS-I was published and launched in 2007, climaxing two years of the maiden cycle. Based on the lessons from the first cycle (BECANS-I), the second cycle (BECANS-II) represents a vital update on the state of business environment across the thirty six (36) states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Key Tasks of BECANS
Based on the goals and objectives, the specific tasks of BECANS are as follows:
- Develop model of benchmarks and indicators for assessing business environment at the state level;
- Collect and scrutinize empirical data for evaluating the benchmark and indicators;
- Fit the data on the benchmarks and indicators to gauge the performance of respective states;
- Prepare and disseminate business environment scorecard of Nigerian states, associated reports and policy briefs;
- Facilitate the use of business environment scorecard/reports for policy dialogue and advocacy;
- Promote the use of the business environment scorecard/reports as evidence basis for state governments to prioritize reforms; and
- Provide regular feedback on business environment at the state level.
What Some Stakeholders Said About BECANS
“The research report was unprecedented and historic in the annals of Nigerian business community. The government, the Organised Private Sector, NGOs, CSOs, the media and other stakeholders need to take it up from there as advocacy issue. The report, according has proffered answers to the country’s quest for evidenced based and scientific information for informed policy making”- The immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa
“The report would stand the test of time; government of Nigeria should embrace it to better the lives of the citizenry. AIAE(now AfriHeritage) has again demonstrated its commitment to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)’s vision and it runs concurrently with the hallmark of Think Tank Initiative which is to link research with policy” -IDRC Senior Programme Monitoring Officer of IDRC Dr. Diakala Sanogo
“BECANS report is one of the best things that have taken place in Nigeria and revealed the position of each geopolitical zones in general. For us in the south east zone, it is incumbent on us to take the report and see how we can begin to fix all impediments to successful business operations as revealed in the reports. This is necessary so that we can take our place in Nigeria. We commend AIAE (now AfriHeritage) for the job well done”- Former Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, Mr.Martin Ilo
“African Institute for Applied Economics (now African Heritage Institution) led the Executive Director; Prof Eboh has done a great work on this research work. It is a delight to note that AIAE(AfriHeritage) joined NASME as an institutional member at par with other research institutes in the country. Most importantly, he co-opted NASME into the BECANS project, which, to the best of my knowledge, was the first independent study of business environment across Nigerian states. The report will indeed be a useful tool for advocacy by the Business Membership Organizations (BMOs).”- Immediate past president, President of the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Dr. Ike Abugu