The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) has highlighted the stark gender inequality within the nation's labour force. Speaking to journalists, yesterday, after a round-table discussion on competitiveness, NCCN's CEO, Chika Mordi, while explaining the findings of a new report to be released by his councik on Thursday, said female participation in the labour force of some Nigerian states was less than two per cent.
"Even though we expected some gender skewering, we did not expect it to be of that magnitude," he said.
However, some elements of the report, Mordi said, were positive.
"There were some states where you saw a clear path when it comes to education and skills. What we hope is that the policy and interventions that have worked will be transferred from the states where they have worked to the states that haven't done it yet.
"The goal we have is all about poverty reduction. We feel that competitiveness will drive inclusive growth."
The NCCN report, which was compiled over the last 20 months with support from the Ford Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the World Bank and a host of other reputable international organisations, looks into how economically competitive states in Nigeria are.
"What we did was to set parameters for assessing the competitiveness of every state," Mordi said.
"And based on parameters that have pillars and sub-pillars around macroeconomics, human capital, infrastructure, trade and around things like settlement and enforcement, we did surveys across the country.
"We did one of the largest surveys you are going to see in this part of the world. We had 8,000 plus households, over 2,000 business surveys and we had a response rate of 91 percent.
"So we asked them a series of questions about their businesses, their experiences and all of these were plugged into the pillars, after some analysis. We also had primary data that we used as well, and cross-validated all of these information to see where it made sense and cleaned it up.
"Based on those results, we now ranked every state on each pillar, aggregated it and now ranked the states, in terms of their competitiveness."
Meanwhile, during the round-table discussion, which was held in Lagos, one of Nigeria's foremost data analyst companies, BudgIT, said the nation's current fiscal structure does not motivate state governments to look within and solve their own problems.
BudgIT's co-founder, Oluseun Onigbinde explained that the current system of federal allocations and bailouts cripples the imagination of state governments to increase internal revenue.
"The incentive is grossly lacking and this is partly because the Nigerian political elites do not like to answer hard questions," Onigbinde said.
Also, the founder and chief executive officer of Proshare, Olufemi Awoyemi, who was also part of the discussion on competitiveness, echoed Onigbinde's point when he noted that Nigeria is "not a productive economy" because virtually every state relies on federal allocations to survive.