Recession: LCCI Lauds FG, Urges More Proactive Policies 

From Left: Members, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Anchor Mobilization Committee For National Economic Summit (NES) 23, Mr Ifeanyi Edeh; Mr Chidi Anya; President, Lagos Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Dr. Mrs. Nike Akande and Member of the Committee, Mr Fidel Agunbiade during the visit of the Committee Members to LCCI Office In Lagos recently

 

 

 

John Okoh, Lagos

President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Nike Akande has stated that the recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics that the economy has exited from recession presents a positive outlook for the economy.

In a statement by the LCCI, she said that the breakthrough will restore investors confidence in the economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics recently announced that the economy, which declined by 2.06 per cent for the second quarter of 2016 has exited from recession with a marginal growth of 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 after recording contractions for five consecutive quarters.

She said, “We welcome the development as it presents a positive signal on Nigeria’s economic outlook. This will impact positively on investors’ confidence in our economy. The exit from recession is also an indication that some of the government policies have impacted positively on the economy. Indeed, some of the factors driving the progress made so far included the following: Improvement in 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

“Beyond the GDP 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. And 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 of celebration ultimately.  Remarkably, the President himself (Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR) lent credence to this fact when he stated that: “Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done”

She lauded government’s policies meant to encourage and boost manufacturing and provide improved access to forex by SMEs. She canvased the need for a paradigm shift from been a single product (Oil) economy to the pathway of diversification, especially into non-oil export.

Arguing that certain critical policies need to be adopted to sustain the momentum, she called for the reduction in multiplicity of exchange rate, alignment of procurement policies at all levels of government to support domestic investment, investment policy that would protect domestic investors, tax policy that is investment friendly, interest rate policy that is investment friendly and trade policy that will reduce cost of operations across sectors

 “While we agree that business is better done by the private sector, the government needs to provide all necessary regulations and infrastructure which support business in Nigeria, she said, adding “It is expected that the recently released Executive Orders should create a better environment for good governance, procurement practices, contract execution and protection of investors’ rights. We need to have success stories about Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and concessions entered into by the government so as to attract more private sector participation in the economy.

“There is need for the enhancement of capacity of regulatory agencies so as to improve Nigeria’s regulatory environment.  The provision of power remains at the heart of ease of doing business in Nigeria. We note the efforts of the government in addressing the perennial power supply shortage and wish to advise that we look into alternative sources of power and off-grid initiatives.

“We call on the Government to sustain the current reforms in such critical sectors as power, agriculture, solid minerals and oil and gas. The executive orders signed in May this year should be fully enforced to improve the way Government does business and thereby improve the business environment. While we encourage more concessions, we expect that international best practices are duly adhered to in the concession process.

We applaud the recent approval by the Federal Government to concession two airports- the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja. This is part of government’s effort on the ease of doing business in Nigeria. It will ensure that our airports are renewed and operated efficiently through collaboration with the private sector. We believe that this move will not only incentivize private investment in the aviation sector but also lead to improved efficiency of the airport and increased government revenue in the medium term.

She praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for its consistency in intervening in the Forex market, which has helped to reduce exchange rate volatility over the last two quarters, leading to the return of confidence to the market.

 She however drew the attention of government to the deplorable state of roads leading to the Lagos Ports – Apapa and Tincan Island Ports, which, according to her, account for over 60 per cent of the cargo into the country and an estimated 70 per cent of customs revenue.

“The poor state of the roads has had multifarious effects on the private sector, economy and the citizens.We acknowledge the steps being taken to fix roads. But, there is need for urgent palliative measures to sustain movement of traffic in this axis”, She said.