Obinna Chima and Solomon Elusoji
The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) has ranked Lagos state top among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, in its first ever Sub-National Index.
Lagos was closely followed by Delta, Rivers, Niger, Enugu, Edo, Jigawa and Abia states, in that order.
The index covered four key areas which included human capital, infrastructure, economy and institutions.
The NCCNâ€™s National Competitiveness Report that was launched in Lagos yesterday, also ranked Borno and Gombe, 36th and 37th respectively.
While Imo state was ranked 32nd among the 36 states and the FCT, Adamawa was placed 33rd, Kwara â€“ 34th and Yobe 35th.
According to the report, all the states performed strongly in at least one of the four broad themes and 23 indicators.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NCCN, Mr. Chika Mordi explained that the index aims to present a significant platform for research and discussion.
Mordi pointed out that a couple of northern states were quite strong in areas of infrastructure.
â€œIn aggregate, Nigeria remains challenges in its competitiveness,â€ the NCCN boss stressed.
He added that NCCN anticipates that the index would â€œhave a catalytic effect in competitive state policies which will ultimately lead to greater business productivity, resulting in job creation and poverty reduction.â€
Meanwhile, data collection for the index was done by NCCN in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics and private surveying agencies. They conducted a household survey across all 36 states and the FCT, resulting in a sample of 8,147 households.
They also conducted a business climate survey, collecting information from 2000 private business establishments chosen at random, and using probability proportional to size (PPS) within each sector. Out of this number, 1,820 businesses responded to the survey, representing a 91% response rate.
â€œThe index is a culmination of 20 months of intense work,â€ Mordi added.
â€œWeâ€™ve worked rigorously to ensure objectivity and transparency in our methodology, data collection, analysis and interpretation. Where possible we applied effective tools for cross-validation, and ease of replicability. It is by no means perfect, but we envisage improvements with subsequent iterations of the index.â€
In his contribution at the event, former Cross River State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke, expressed disappointed that present political leaders across the country were more interested in politics than governance.
â€œAnd if you donâ€™t get the economics right, then governance cannot work,â€ he said. â€œYou cannot be competitive when you are not productive. The first thing is how do we get productive?â€
â€œSo, we have a country, where a blessing (exponential population growth) is turning into a curse, because in the next three years, our population will be 200 million, yet all the productive indices are going down. Lagos may be crowded out; every year, 750,000 new people come to Lagos to reside; the economy cannot support that. So, if you donâ€™t get the rest of the country working, Lagos itself will collapse,â€ he warned.