THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – On August 23, 2017, while presenting a research paper at the WorldStage Economic Summit in Lagos, Dr Ayodele Shittu, an expert in Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Economics from the University of Lagos, says Nigeria’s business environment is yearning for innovation in order to fulfill its potential of stimulating economic prosperity.
The paper was based on the theme of the summit ‘Transforming business and economy through innovation’.
In the paper, according to report, Shittu insisted that, as a nation, Nigeria must promote collaborative relationships between Nigerian universities and local industries.
He says the nation must also develop SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, time-based) focus (or goals) for specific economic sectors, promote knowledge-sharing between the enterprises in both formal and informal sectors, put in place physical centres such as business incubator, accelerators, etc, encourage innovative supply of infrastructure and utilities, as well as prioritise innovative financing options to both existing and new businesses.
The research paper assessed Nigeria’s business environment based on three indicators: ease of doing business, business confidence and capacity utilisation.
On ease of doing business, even though an increasing trend is displayed in the last eight years, the performance has been woeful with Nigeria ranking 169th among 190 countries.
Shittu considers this ranking embarrassing and advises the federal government (FG) to setup the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council to supervise the competitiveness and investment climate agenda at both federal and state levels in the country.
On business confidence index, he says there is a glooming perception of the business environment among leading businesses in selected sectors.
According to him, ‘While the level of pessimism is declining, common constraining factors cited among the firms surveyed include financial barriers, unfavourable political climate, competition, and insufficient local demand.’
Shittu also warns that Nigeria’s educational system, if not prioritised, may see reduction in future human capital. In this regard, the available evidence shows that the score of the future workforce is lower than the score of the current workforce by 10 percent or more.
With respect to capacity utilisation, he explained that ranked 108th out of 135 countries and 90th out of 135 countries on Business Dynamism and Innovation Capacity indicators respectively.
Shittu believes that the task of creating an enabling business environment remains a mirage and now is the time to take action.
‘We need to rethink our business culture and create innovative approaches to creating, nurturing and developing transformed local businesses with global outlook. But we must bear in mind that the process of transformation is not linear,’ he advises.