Thursday, 9th February 2023
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

LCCI, NACCIMA urge FG to address crude oil theft, rising debt profile

By Guardian Nigeria
24 August 2022   |   4:09 am
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has called on the Federal Government to address crude oil theft and other macroeconomic fundamentals to navigate the Nigerian economy to the path of growth.

The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has called on the Federal Government to address crude oil theft and other macroeconomic fundamentals to navigate the Nigerian economy to the path of growth.

They gave the advice at the third quarter council meeting of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) recently in Lagos.

President, LCCI, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, said the event was crucial to review major economic developments and communicate the chambers’ position to the wider business community and the government for a thriving private sector.

The LCCI president said the menace of oil theft had become a national disaster and a critical threat to the nation’s revenue base.

According to him, Nigeria is losing crude oil at the level of about 91 per cent of output, as the country lost $3.2 billion in crude oil theft between January 2021 and February 2022.

“The twin factor of fuel subsidy payments and crude oil theft have combined to deny Nigeria the gains of the high crude oil price on the international market,” he said.

Olawale-Cole said that the country’s total public debt stock rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion (about $100.07 billion) by the end of the second quarter of 2022, as revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

He added that Nigeria’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio currently stood at 23.27 per cent against 22.43 per cent on Dec. 31, 2021.

The LCCI president said the development had already resulted in concerns that most, if not all, of the assumptions in the Medium-Term Expenditure framework (MTEF) 2023-2025 would be missed.

This, he explained, was as the country continued to experience unprecedented levels of disruptions to supply chains and agricultural production.

“In the face of rising debt servicing costs accompanied by a dwindling revenue, the provision of critical infrastructure and amenities like healthcare services, education, power, roads and security will be hard hit as funding shrinks,” he said.

Olawale-Cole also urged monetary authorities to liberalise the foreign exchange market by unifying the multiple rates and ensure that rates were market-driven to enhance stability, liquidity and transparency in the foreign exchange market.

In his remarks, Ude Udeagbala, President, NACCIMA, lauded the Lagos State Government for its efforts in supporting the private sector and accommodating its needs under the THEMES agenda.

Udeagbala urged members of the private sector to engage politicians and political parties in discourse to know their plans for the private sector, as the election year approaches.

“This would further help convey our plights to the incoming governments,” he said.

The Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, said the state would continue to leverage recommendations from the private sector to discern challenges affecting it.

Jaji, represented by Mrs Olabisi Shonibare, Director, Political Affairs, charged the sector to engage best practices in trade, investments and commerce to solidify the state as the best investment destination.

“On our part, we would continue to promote a more friendly environment for enterprises and provide workable solutions to all the challenges,” she said.