• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Nigeria must improve business competitiveness for collective prosperity, says NCCN

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The lasting solution to Nigeria’s eco¬nomic growth par¬adox of poverty in the midst of plenty lies in the creation of an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive, Chika Mordi, chief executive officer, National Competi¬tiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), has said.

“Personally, I believe sus¬tained growth and poverty reduction can only come about by market-led growth. We need to build a business friendly environment to combat unemployment and secure our prosperity”.

Speaking on the media presentation entitled, ‘Un¬leash Unrestrained Entre¬preneurship to Boost Collec¬tive Prosperity’, in Lagos on Wednesday, Mordi stated that there is need for change in government policies that will make Nigeria a more productive business envi¬ronment. This growth paradox has seen the African economic giant record sustained an¬nual economic growth rate of between 6% and 7% in the last six to seven years, with pov¬erty index worsening within the same period, he said.

Continuing, the NCCN chief said majority of Nige¬ria’s 170 million people have been globally acknowledged as having very strong zeal for entrepreneurship. Un¬fortunately, the business environment continues to shackle the dreams of many would-be entrepreneurs and lead to the shutdown of many existing enterprises.

Explaining further, the NCCN boss said, “Nigeria ranked 147 out of 189 on the 2014 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. This simply means that when measured against 189 global economies, many of them are also African; our envi¬ronment is more challenging for starting and growing businesses. Nigeria has one of the most entrepreneurial people on earth and a large domestic market. Poor com¬petitiveness shackles our potential.

“However, a high pro¬ductivity environment can only be realised when the private and public sectors come together to implement an agenda for competitive¬ness; to bridge the gap be¬tween opportunities and supporting infrastructure, bureaucracy and policies. This is the role of NCCN, to facilitate that collaboration.”

NCCN is a private-public non-partisan entity estab¬lished by President Good¬luck Jonathan February last year to mobilise the public and private sectors around a clear agenda to make busi¬ness easier, more productive and able to attract, deploy and retain human and fi¬nancial capital.

The NCCN CEO revealed further that the situation was what led to the creation of the body with the presi¬dential mandate to improve the nation’s competitiveness by reducing impediments to doing business in Nigeria; improve factors for quality and cost; boost productiv¬ity; as well as improve the nation’s rankings on inter¬national indices.

“The collective prosperity of 6% to 7% growth rate over the last six or seven years has not translated to a better life for our people. Rather, poverty has been increasing at the same time. The latest indices say Nigeria’s poverty index has risen from 54% to 62% with about 70% of Ni¬gerians living on one dollar a day or less,” he stated.

Mordi, who said the council will advocate chang¬es in policies that support competitiveness, also em¬phasised the need for the nation to actively change the largely biased and untrue negative perceptions about Nigeria in the global com¬munity.