Organised private sector rallies support for increased social investments
Acknowledging that the federal government has been overwhelmed in addressing humanitarian challenges, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to intensify their support and contribution towards social investment in the country.
Indeed, the chamber stated that the business community depends hugely on an environment that is socially and economically stable to do business hence, the need to work towards providing a framework for a sustainable partnership between the private sector and the humanitarian sector.
The president, LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, at a sensitisation programme on humanitarian partnerships and social investment in Africa, explained that the Nigerian private sector could do more to scale up its participation and engagement in the humanitarian space.
In his words: “We believe that as business people, this issue affects our businesses and apart from the loss of opportunities, it can also come as a form of destruction of facilities and investments. We are using this opportunity to underscore the need why we should support this initiative. The private sector must see it as a self-surviving strategy for us to encourage humanitarian activities.”
He noted that as a country, Nigeria has continued to experience humanitarian challenges, especially in the North-eastern part of the country, saying that there is an urgent need for partnership between the private sector and humanitarian organisations to find a lasting and sustainable solution to humanitarian crisis.
“In other words, humanitarian activities should be not just a concern, but also a matter of interest to the private sector. Therefore, commitment to fixing the humanitarian problems and the prosperity of our businesses are not necessarily mutually exclusive,” he said.
According to him, the sensitisation is a further effort at sensitising and deepening private sector’s involvement in humanitarian partnerships that can engender social investment in Nigeria and Africa in general.
The president, Nigerian Red Cross Society, Elder Balaji Anani, in his remarks, said there are growing partnerships with the private sector, saying that apart from being an important source of funding for humanitarian operations, the private sector also paves way for innovation and technical excellence in humanitarian and development assistance.
“We advocate closer partnership between humanitarian and the private sector. Humanitarian actors are first to intervene in post conflict and transition situations, but we lack the resources especially funding and sometimes, the expertise required to lay the foundation for sustainable development,” he stressed.
The Chairman of pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, stated the need for a change in the way humanitarian activities are done, advising that humanitarian activities must be geared towards creating opportunities for Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) to be self-reliant.
The president, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, said ICRC has partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to give IDPs equal opportunities to be self reliant, generate income for small businesses.“We want to bring them back to normal lives, give them knowledge about starting businesses. We believe this would speed and scale up the qualitative impact on human lives,” he said.