What is Competitiveness?

Competitiveness is the aggregation of all the social, economic, and environmental factors, including institutions and policies that are critical to enabling a country to reach its economic potential.

A country’s competitiveness is dependent on: the macroeconomic environment set out by the monetary and fiscal policies of that country, the microeconomic competitiveness determined by the quality of innovation and competition at the level of firms and clusters present in the country, and the country’s natural endowments.

How is Competitiveness Different from Competition?

Competitiveness is how easy it is in terms of time and money spent for businesses in a country to obtain inputs for their operations. Competition, on the other hand, is companies’ ability to compete among themselves on a level playing field. Competitiveness relates to business environment whereas competition relates to interaction among companies in that environment.

Why have a Competitiveness Council?

Several Countries have achieved rapid market-based development by setting up a body to conceive and implement a national competitiveness strategy. Typically, competitiveness bodies are underpinned by strong presidential support, high level public and private sector collaboration. A competitiveness council mobilizes the public and private sector around a clear agenda to make business easier, more productive and able to attract, deploy and retain human and financial capital.

Who set up the Competitiveness Council?

The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) is a private-public non-partisan entity established by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Industry trade and Investment with support from the Tony Elumelu foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Department for International Development (DFID) and in consultation with the World Bank group, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) and Michael Porter,  a leading authority on competitive strategy and the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states, and regions.

What does competitiveness mean to the government and people of Nigeria?

As it stands, inherited prosperity for Nigeria in the form of mineral resource export is by itself insufficient to sustain a large and growing population. There is a need to reduce dependency on raw material exports and improve productivity through tertiarisation to create prosperity.

Competitiveness requires a functioning, transparent government that implements policies which allow businesses to open and function efficiently, leading to increased returns and eventually a sustainable economy. For the people of Nigeria, increased competitiveness means more jobs and an improved quality of life.

When was the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) set up?

The NCCN was inaugurated on February 4, 2013. It commenced operations in December 2013.

How does the NCCN expect to achieve its goals and objectives?

To be successful and for the NCCN to meet its targets over the next four years, urgent action must be taken on a number of crucial fronts. Three broad areas for intervention that have been identified are:

  • Reform of public and private institutions, including infrastructures, technological readiness, human capital (health, education, skills and training);
  • Benchmarking with international comparators on enhancing our national competitive strategy;
  • Liaising with the World Economic Forum and other similar organisations in learning best practices for enhancing national competitiveness.

What are some of the expected benefits of setting up a Competitiveness council?

Changes in policies that govern Nigeria result in improvements in global competitiveness index rankings, eventually leading to increases in productivity and reductions in poverty.

What are the indices that benchmark Nigeria’s performance in a global context?

There are many, but we mainly focus on Nigeria’s performance on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, and the Social Progress Index.

What are the key messages to the public from the NCCN?

  • Our nation has sufficient talent, market size and resources to dramatically reduce poverty and unemployment
  • Removing the obstacles to business in Nigeria will unleash our latent entrepreneurship and drive economic growth
  • The NCCN aims to make an environment in which businesses have all the inputs required for operations, thereby increasing jobs and improving the lives of all Nigerians.