LCCI lists measures to sustainable economic recovery
For Nigeria to grow its economy and create jobs for its teeming youths, there is an urgent need for paradigm shift from being a mono product economy to one with a diversified base, the outgoing President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr Nike Akande, has said.
Akande, who disclosed this at the 129th yearly general meeting of the Chamber in Lagos, noted that beyond the gross domestic product numbers and the exit from recession, what is paramount is the impact on the cost of doing business, productivity of the investors, competitiveness of firms and the sustainability of investments.
According to her, aside the country exiting recession, the economy is still faced with challenges of weak government revenue base, high interest rates and security issues in some parts of the country, noting that the fundamental of the economy remain strong with numerous opportunities and potential.
Akande said the exit from recession is an indication that some of the government policies have had some desired outcomes, which is factorised by some driving force to include improvement in crude oil price and oil output, improvement in liquidity in the forex market; commitment of government to ease of doing business and reforms in forex policy.
“To the average Nigerian, what matters is the effect on welfare, especially food prices, cost of healthcare, transportation cost, power supply and the purchasing power. These are the considerations that would determine the extent and value of recovery,” she stressed.
She emphasised that for Nigeria to sustain the momentum of recovery and current positive outlook, government must ensure investment policy that would protect domestic investors; alignment of procurement policies at all levels of government to support domestic investment and production.
She also added that government must ensure there is tax policy that is investment friendly, interest rate policy that supports investment growth, trade policy that will reduce cost of operations across sectors and reduction in multiplicity of exchange rates.
Speaking on the ease of doing business, she said while the chamber agrees that business is better don by private sector, government needs to provide necessary regulations and infrastructure which support businesses.
It is expected that the Executive Orders given few months ago would create a better environment for good regulatory governance, procurement practices, contract execution and protection of investors’ rights.
“We need to have success stories about Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and concessions entered into by the government to attract more private sector participation in the economy.”
Akande said there is need to enhance the capacity of regulatory agencies to improve Nigeria’s regulatory environment. The provision of power remains at the heart of ease of doing business in Nigeria.
While commending efforts of government in addressing perennial power supply shortage, deeper commitment to sources of power and off-grid initiatives, she called on government to sustain the current reforms in such critical sectors as power, agriculture, solid minerals and oil and gas.
She expressed concern about multiplicity of exchange rates noting that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been consistent in its intervention in the forex market, this she said has helped to reduce exchange rate volatility over the last two quarters.
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