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National insecurity engenders LCCI worries about shortage of raw materials in agro-allied sector

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The growing insecurity in many food producing parts of the country has become a threat for food production and increasingly responsible for shortage of local raw materials for agro-allied businesses, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said.

According to the Chamber, the inability of security agencies to stem religious and ethnic conflicts, herdsmen killings and destruction of farms, as well as terrorist activities of Boko Haram in the North- East pose grave implications for businesses and investors.

For investors seeking to tap into opportunities in the value-chain, LCCI noted that insecurity in the food production sector has negative effects on investors’ confidence as well as adverse global perception issues for the country.

Besides, the agency also sought government’s policy direction for the 2018 financial year so that businesses can consolidate on their activities for the year.

Speaking of the state of the economy in Lagos, yesterday, LCCI President, Babatunde Ruwase said the cost of operations in the food production sector has been on the rise as a result of insecurity in many of the food production states.

In his appraisal of the economy, Ruwase said the economy is on the path of slow and fragile recovery after five consecutive quarters of contraction, noting that improvement in crude oil price and oil output, better liquidity in the foreign exchange market are major drivers of the nation’s positive outlook.

Beyond the GDP numbers, he urged the government to focus more on growth that is job creating and inclusive, considering the challenges of unemployment in the country.

“An inclusive growth and job creation will come from better backward integration, better patronage of made in Nigeria products; and the general prosperity of businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises.”

“The power situation continues to pose challenges to business operators. There are complaints across all sectors about high energy costs especially high expenditure on diesel and petrol for large and small businesses.

“While we acknowledge the efforts by government to improve liquidity in the power supply chain, we appeal to government to review the pricing policy of the gas companies which prescribes payment in dollars for the gas used by industries”, he added.

“We believe this is not consistent with the objective of promoting industrialisation and job creation of the administration. Most manufacturers are producing for the domestic market; it is therefore inappropriate to compel them to pay for gas in dollars”, he said.

Ruwase also urged Nigerians to embrace opportunities in the country, noting that foreign interests are increasing their stake in key areas of the economy while Nigerians continue to lament about the situation of things.


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Babatunde RuwaseLCCI

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