Government seeks private sector participation in revamping economy
The Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, explained that the present administration is committed to further stimulating domestic and foreign investments in the country through the support of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
The minister, who was represented by the acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Waheed Olagunju, at the 128th yearly general meeting of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), however noted that Nigeria cannot depend on a budget of about N6 trillion to N7 trillion to run effectively as a nation.
In his words, “A N7 trillion budget is not enough to run a N90 trillion economy. The best the government can do is to catalyse the private sector to mobilise resources for the sector to ensure that the economy is well operated to actualise its full potential. This explains why we will continue to support the LCCI and indeed other private sectors organisations in the country using mainly the framework of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as well as the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) and other initiatives of the ministry. We are committed to further simulation of domestic and foreign investments in the country.
“The times are hard and Nigeria is in challenging times, but we are optimistic that given the very strong fundamentals of the economy, we will be out of the woods sooner than expected. We will continue to count on the support of the private sector particularly the LCCI, given that Lagos accounts for a significant percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and by virtue of historical factors and geographical circumstances, Lagos will continue to be the trigger for the Nigerian economy.”
In his capacity as BoI boss, Olagunju said Nigeria has export potential and needs to diversify the sources of its foreign exchange, pointing out that Nigeria has depended on oil for a very long time.
“If we have a diversified economy and we export processed goods or solid minerals, processed petroleum products, we are going to earn more value than we are currently earning exporting crude products. For the past 30 years, we have been paying lip services to diversification; we have not done well in the last 30 years. We have to start doing things correctly, going forward, otherwise it will come back and haunt us. If we are determined and focused, we can turn around the Nigerian economy in the next five years,” he said.
The President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, explained that the yearly general meeting is meant to review the business environment and the economic conditions in the outgoing year and also to highlight accomplishments and advocacy engagements as major players in the OPS.
“We note the particular decline in oil price, the weakening of our currency and associated challenges this scenario portends. It is our prayers that we will get out of this stringer and wiser,” she said.
The chamber’s Director General, Muda Yusuf, said with the current revenue profile of government and current fiscal position of government, there is very little that the budget can achieve in terms of positive impact.
He added that there are serious issues of implementation in the current budget, and revenue targets have not been met, stressing that these targets are not likely to be met.
“What is the most important at this time is for us to have favourable fiscal and monetary, foreign exchange, and trade policies. These policies are very critical to get us back on track. We need lots of domestic and foreign investments. All these will not happen if the policies do not inspire investors’ confidence. If we look at the budget vis-à-vis the GDP, it is less than six per cent. The totality of federal government’s policy to GDP is less than six per cent. What can that do in the Nigerian economy? The focus should be on appropriate policies across all the dimensions of policies that we have mentioned,” he said.