LCCI tasks FG on moderating inflation, National Assembly on budget passage
Citing the expected impact the upward review of minimum wage and election-related experience may have on inflation rate, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has emphasised the need for the Federal Government to enhance non-oil sector productivity to increase output and moderate inflation.
Similarly, the chamber urged the National Assembly to consider and approve the 2019 Budget expeditiously to ensure optimal implementation.
President of LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase made the appeal during a media briefing on the state of the economy on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that the country had witnessed the adverse impact of delayed budget passage on the national output and real economic activities.
“Such delays put budget implementation at risk, it also affects the capacity of government to deliver on infrastructure projects and payment to contractors,” he said.
The LCCI boss urged the government to encourage private capital in the delivery of infrastructure projects, through enabling reforms and Public Private Partnership.
Ruwase said it was imperative to ensure improved independent revenue performance in 2019, saying that weak government revenue had continued to constrain budget performance.
“We are dealing with a situation where government revenue can barely fund the recurrent expenditure and debt service commitments, thereby putting the delivery of capital projects at risk.
“This has been a challenge for all levels of government.
“Many of the revenue generating agencies of government can do better than their current level of performance and remittance of surplus to the federation account,” he said.
Ruwase said that creation of better investment environment would also attract more private capital and investment, and would invariably impact positively on government revenue and employment generation.
He said that government should expedite actions to complete infrastructure projects nationwide, such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Power Projects, Second Niger Bridge and East-West road.
Ruwase said the projects would have significant positive impact on commercial activities and businesses, thereby reducing cost of doing business and boosting productivity.
On the oil and gas sector, the LCCI president, said that protracted delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and weak commitment to the reform continues to stifle investment in the upstream and downstream segment of the sector.
“Enabling reforms are necessary to put an end to the protracted problem of petroleum subsidy and the phenomenon of under recovery, that currently imposes huge burden on government finances,” he said.
He said it was expedient to implement reforms in the sector to unlock the vast potentials in the sector for investment, jobs, revenue, backward integration and economic diversification.