By Adenike Agunsoye
The Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Asiwaju (Dr.) Micheal Olawale-Cole has said that Global growth, though positive, slowed down by about 50 per cent between 2019 and 2022 due to spiraling inflation, high energy cost, monetary policy tightening, continued disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, the energy crisis, weak consumer demand, and political upheavals.
This was revealed at the Chamber’s quarterly address on Economic and business issues in Nigeria.
The President stated that looking further into 2023, the war in Ukraine and mounting sanctions on Russia may all continue to impact supply chains for commodities and shocks to financial systems across the world.
He said that the likely failings of the seven countries’ agreement on the Russian oil price cap, the resurgence of Covid infections and the likely return of restrictions, and renewed tensions in the middle east may all continue to keep oil prices upward and volatile in the short term.
He acknowledged that oil prices rose by 44.87 per cent in 2022, the highest in five years.
“With recent projections from the international monetary fund (IMF) that one-third of the world economy would be in recession, Nigeria, though not on the list, may feel like a recession for millions of Nigerians if we bring into focus the latest multidimensional poverty index,” he added.
He recalled that 2022 third-quarter GDP report, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.25 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the third quarter of 2022, lower than the 3.54 per cent recorded in the previous quarter and 4.03 per cent in the corresponding quarter in 2021.
However, he stated that the growth indicates that the economy has recorded an eighth consecutive quarter of positive growth on the back of significant expansionary monetary policies.
“The growth was primarily driven by the services and agriculture sectors, which contributed 7.69 per cent and 1.34 per cent, respectively. The growth recorded in the sectors was higher compared to 7.37 per cent and 1.20 per cent recorded for the services and agriculture sectors in the previous quarter. However, the oil & gas and manufacturing sectors contracted by –22.67 per cent and –1.91 per cent, respectively.
“The decline in oil and gas was attributed to the massive cut in daily oil production, estimated at 1.20 million barrels per day (mbpd), due to oil theft and insecurity. Also, the high inflation rate and continuous rise in interest rates are major factors responsible for the contraction in the manufacturing sector. And with the excruciating burden of inflation, forex scarcity, high energy cost, and weakening purchasing power, many more production activities may be constrained in the coming months,” he said.
The Chamber recommended that, the Federal Government needs to sustain its targeted interventions in selected critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure, and tackling insecurity.
“We urge the government to keep track of plans to tackle oil theft, to boost oil exports and earn more foreign exchange. We also commend the government for the effort being made to-date to combat the cartel involved in oil theft. If these efforts had started earlier the nation would have made huge economic gains. We therefore appeal to the government to intensify these efforts.
“We also implore the government to deploy innovative thinking to tackle natural disasters like flooding by implementing environmental guidelines and establishing preventive infrastructure. The impact of climate change on agriculture is becoming more evident by the day, and quick response is critical to avert food insecurity and worsening food inflation.”
He advised that to reduce the shocks from disruptions and to supply chains for raw materials, manufacturers should be assisted with subsidised input and more allocation of forex for importing critical inputs.
He said while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) embarks on monetary tightening to tame inflation, it should ensure that targeted concessionary credit to the private sector is sustained for MSMES.
Speaking on logistics, Olawale-Cole said that logistics has gone up due to the poor state of roads and the lack of connection among farms, factories, and markets.
The Chamber commends the Federal Government for the recent effort to improve infrastructure, such as the completion of the second Niger bridge, which is a key national infrastructure, with immense socio-economic benefits for the contiguous states and indeed the entire nation. The President said that the project was funded through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) created by president Muhammadu Buhari and managed by the NSIA.
He said the Chamber wants to see more of such developments for the benefit of the organised private sector.
NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers
…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event
By Seun Ibiyemi
It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.
With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.
Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.
According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”
Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”
On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.
In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).
Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.
LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.
Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.
Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.
Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.
She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.
She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.
“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.
”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.
Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB
President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.
According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.
Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.
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