Addressing infrastructure challenges will require $14.2b yearly spending, says LCCI
President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, said that addressing Nigeria’s many infrastructure challenges would require sustained expenditure of almost $14.2 billion yearly in the next decade, or about 12 per cent of national output.
In a press statement reviewing the state of the economy and businesses in the last 63 years, he regretted that data available to LCCI shows that the economy has performed sub-optimally with negative implications on citizens’ welfare and fueling uncertainty.
In the statement, he also pointed out that the economy and businesses are struggling with high inflation, a weak currency, declining reserves, falling household purchasing power, rising debt burden, high and rising unemployment, rising income gap and worsening poverty level.
He added that despite all these challenges, there is still a little bit of hope and that sustaining market-friendly policies and promoting macroeconomic stability are important steps in achieving optimal growth and improving citizens’ welfare.
Recognising the impacts of the reforms on vulnerable workers and low-income earners, he said there is an urgent need to review the wage structure of Nigerian workers
“With high inflation rate, volatile exchange rate, low GDP growth, weak infrastructure, insecurity and so on, I call on the Federal Government to address the macroeconomic issues and the insecurity challenges facing the country. The economic growth trend has been beset by challenges posed by debt crisis, inflation risks, insecurity, post-effect of subsidy removal, and forex illiquidity.
“The business environment remains a concern to investors, especially in the real sector. Weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of many enterprises. These conditions pose a major risk to job creation, economic inclusion, and competitiveness, especially with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement now in place,” he said.
He said: “The foreign exchange market remains volatile. Naira exchange rate (N/$) averaged N761.41/$ as at the end of September 2023 compared to N770.32/US$ in the previous month at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window while at the Bureau de Change (BDC), naira averaged N965.76/$ compared to N910.65/$ in August 2023.
“With frequent collapses recorded by the national grid, we can no longer rely on a centralised power source. The way to go is decentralising the national grid. Also, the country’s security situation deteriorated in the last year, assuming a very worrisome dimension. This has impacted investment inflow and worsened the country’s perception and image by the global investing community. Access to markets in the troubled parts of the country has been reduced for many enterprises, with negative consequences for investors’ confidence.
“Furthermore, poor infrastructure particularly in the areas of road, rail, ICT, ports and so on is a big challenge to Nigeria’s socio-economic development. The water and sanitation sector has inefficient operations, with low and declining levels of piped water coverage. Irrigation development is also low relative to the country’s substantial potential.”
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