LCCI seeks more intervention funds for economic growth
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has called on managers of the economy to increase access to intervention funds for businesses to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) directive of 60 per cent to deposit money banks to support businesses.
The President, LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, said although some of the financial institutions are claiming to have surpassed the 60 per cent threshold, he warned that banks must only support projects that are bankable to avoid rising cases of toxic assets.
Ruwase stated this on the sidelines at the maiden edition of its yearly youth entrepreneurship summit, in Lagos.
He said: “We have to be careful so that we do not fund un-bankable projects. There are no cheap funds anywhere knowing that they have to safeguard the interest of depositors. What government can do is to do more in areas of intervention funds to banks for on-lending to support sectors that are critical while also making the conditions for borrowing these funds relaxed.
“The banks are looking for more than the one per cent they get during the life span of the fund borrowed, but if we are not careful about this, we might start to have situations where funds are created as well as liabilities for projects that are not bankable and at the end of the day we have toxic assets.”
He said with the theme, “Youth entrepreneurship and national development,” the Chamber is aiming to join the rest of the world in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on its 8th agenda, which is economic growth.
He pointed out that sustainable economic growth requires societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment.
He said as a result of this, the Chamber will continue to encourage youths to embrace entrepreneurship through sensitisation programme, stressing that LCCI has been giving support to start-ups and young businesses through its business mentoring programmes since 2013.
According to him, those who have been mentored through the programme have become successful entrepreneurs, contributing immensely to the growth of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP).
He added that entrepreneurs occupy a central position in a market economy, serving as the spark plug in the economy’s engine, activating and stimulating all economic activities.
He advised that good and stable government policies, provision of adequate infrastructural facilities are what entrepreneurs need to succeed.
Also speaking, the Director, Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre, University of Lagos, Prof. Sunday Adebisi, said youth unemployment currently stands at 36.5 per cent representing more than 43 million unemployment cases in the country.
He decried that the situation is worrisome, as out of the average jobs of 324,042 created yearly, only 0.0003 per cent of youths have hopes of getting employed.
He said about 7012 jobs representing 2.1 per cent of the existing jobs are lost annually, while calling for the urgent need for the federal government to set up what he termed as, National Entrepreneurship Policy (NEP), to boost entrepreneurship in the country.
He also stressed the need for the establishment of start-up banks, start-up business registration policies, and incubation hubs across all the States.
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