Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, has assured of a continually conducive business environment for investors and traders to get returns on their investment within Enugu State.
Ugwuanyi gave the assurance on Thursday in Enugu after receiving an award on “Special Recognition for Invaluable Contributions Towards the Promotion of Social Protection Practice in Enugu State”.
The award was given to him during the launch of Business Environment Competitiveness Across Nigerian States (BECANS-4) Survey Report Document by the African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage).
The report was sub-themed: “Transforming Nigerian Business Environment for Increased Investments, Economic Growth and Inclusive Developments”.
The governor, represented by Mr Arinze Chilo-Offiah, Special Adviser to the Governor on SME Development and Investment Promotion, said that the state government would continue to improve the business environment and put infrastructure to ensure growth of businesses.
He said that the government, within a few years, had trained thousands of youths in modern skills and entrepreneurship to be employers of labour and owners of their businesses.
“We will not relent in our pursuit to continue to improve the business environment through commitment to innovations, infrastructure provision and security that will guarantee that the state continues to remain the number one business destination in the country.
“We will still remain focused on business environment development, youths’ empowerment and skill training to ensure that poverty will be kicked out of the state and everyone living here will be financially empowered,” he said.
In a keynote address, the former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, urged state governments to take the findings and recommendations of the report seriously and try to improve the business environment for the overall benefit of their people.
Nebo, who spoke on the “Need for Regional Integration in Nigeria: A Perspective from the South-East: Approach to Transformative Change in Nigeria”, called on states to cooperate and take advantage of one another’s comparative advantage.
According to him, there is a need for states to have joint ventures at bi-state level or regional level to enhance and facilitate greater growth.
One of the lead researchers for the survey report, Dr Chiwuike Uba, said that the report presented a holistic view on the current business environment of the 36 states and the FCT as well as the 774 council areas in the country.
Uba, who is a fellow of Afri-Heritage, said that the report captured various perimeters and factors that influenced the business environment in each given location.
“The report document, which is a fallout of painstaking research, will help states to see areas they are not doing well and fix them.
“It will also point the light to would-be investors to locations in the country to site their investment and get returns on their investment.
“It showcases states and council areas with best and standard business practices and policies as well as business infrastructure and internet connectivity to promote business growth at individual, group and multinational levels,” he said.
The Executive Director of Afri-Heritage, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, urged state and local governments to take advantage of the BECANS-4 report document to improve ease-of-doing-businesses within their areas.
Okeke-Uzodike noted that the report document would be a veritable tool for peer review among states and help policy makers and executives to adjust to best business practices for the overall good of the citizenry and entire country.
According to him, the report unearths the underlying factors why some states are getting it right, especially for those with good policies, infrastructure and amenities, to support businesses and fair tax policies among others.
“BECANS-4 provides a roadmap for every state government to improve its business environment and better the lot of their people and Nigerians in general.
“It took time, some constraints, especially difficulty of getting information and over N100 million to get the survey carried out and the final report document printed.
“So, it is worthwhile and something done meticulously by the best professional hands,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Governors Forum office as well as hundreds of captains of industries and policy makers within and outside the country joined the launch visually.
It also featured awards to the top three performing states — Anambra, Niger and Plateau States. There were also awards of excellence to some industries, service providers and many others. (NAN)