The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) plans to launch its Nigeria’s first national competitiveness report in November. This is as part of its efforts in driving the viability of States in Nigeria and spurring viable policies for sustainable national prosperity.
Speaking at a press panel discourse on the theme “Competitiveness: The Viable Path to Job Inclusive Growth’”, NCCN CEO, Chika Mordi explained that the move would help spur growth-friendly policies.
The forum brought together stakeholders in policy advocacy space and also financial, business and economic experts. Panelists at the forum agreed that States were vital to Nigeria’s quest to attaining a productive and viable economy.
According to the NCCN, the index to be launched evaluates the competitiveness of Nigeria’s 36 states and FCT through metrics that examine growth, development and productivity potential.
Explaining the findings of the new report to be released by his council, Mordi said, “There were some states where you saw a clear path when it comes to education and skills. What we hope is that the policy and interventions that have worked will be transferred from the states where they have worked to the states that haven’t done it yet. The goal we have is all about poverty reduction. We feel that competitiveness will drive inclusive growth.”
The NCCN report, which was compiled over the last 20 months with support from the Ford Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the World Bank and a host of other reputable international organisations, looks into how economically competitive states in Nigeria are.
“What we did was to set parameters for assessing the competitiveness of every state,” Mordi said. And based on parameters that have pillars and sub-pillars around macroeconomics, human capital, infrastructure, trade and around things like settlement and enforcement, we did surveys across the country.”
“We did one of the largest surveys you are going to see in this part of the world. We had 8,000 plus households, over 2,000 business surveys and we had a response rate of 91 percent.
“So we asked them a series of questions about their businesses, their experiences and all of these were plugged into the pillars, after some analysis. We also had primary data that we used as well, and cross-validated all of this information to see where it made sense and cleaned it up.
“Based on those results, we now ranked every state on each pillar, aggregated it and now ranked the states, in terms of their competitiveness.”
The NCCN’s index drew from resources of the World Economic Forum, World Bank, Mexico’s IMCO and HBS’s Prof Michael Porter.
The NCCN also stated that it received funding from Ford Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and resource support from the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) to drive initiatives targeted at fiscal balance, healthy public-private policy contestation and unleashing private enterprise potential.
“The NCCN Sub-National Index is a potent tool for catalysing business-friendly policies that will spur job-rich growth in Nigeria’s 36 states,” NCCN Chief Executive Officer, Chika Mordi said. The findings of NCCN Sub-National Index underscore the salience of state governments in Nigeria’s overall economic growth potential.”
The NCCN sub-national is expected to enable states to identify ways to maximise growth and development potential. State policies and actions hold the key to boosting Nigeria’s overall growth.
It added: “Nigeria faces a well-documented overdependence on oil for fiscal revenue that has stifled incentives for private sector growth and remains insufficient for sustainable poverty reduction.”
According to OPEC, the oil and gas sector accounts for about 35 per cent of gross domestic produc t and petroleum exports revenue represents over 90 per cent of total exports revenue.
Gross capital formation as a percentage of GDP remained inadequate for growth compared to other emerging economies (Algeria 51%, Mexico – 23%, South Africa – 21%, Nigeria – 15%).
Also, operational costs are high, the lack of adequate infrastructure constitutes a binding constraint for manufacturing and agriculture, and structural rigidities suffocate diversification and industrialisation efforts.
“Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of today’s context is Nigeria’s rising youth population, which is an unutilised demographic window of opportunity that is fast turning to a ticking demographic bomb in the form of a massive army of unemployed youths. 62.27% of the population is under the age of 25, Countries such as the US, China, Japan, and South Korea achieved economic growth and poverty reduction by exploiting a similar demographic window of opportunity.
Meanwhile, during the round-table discussion, which was held in Lagos, one of Nigeria’s foremost data analyst companies, BudgIT, said the nation’s current fiscal structure does not motivate state governments to look within and solve their own problems.
BudgIT’s co-founder, Oluseun Onigbinde explained that the current system of federal allocations and bailouts cripples the imagination of state governments to increase internal revenue.
“The incentive is grossly lacking and this is partly because the Nigerian political elites do not like to answer hard questions,” Onigbinde said.
NCCN is a nonpartisan private effort aimed at enhancing the productivity of businesses operating in Nigeria with the ultimate goal of improved socio-economic outcomes for Nigeria,” it added.