NACCIMA urges right policy mix to address power, refineries, insecurity challenges

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The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has charged the Federal Government on the right policy mix to address challenges of power supply, insecurity and comatose refineries.

Its President, Ide John Udeagbala, told journalists in Lagos on Monday that the call was pertinent to ameliorate the hardship, economic losses and sufferings private sector businesses and Nigerian citizens were going through.

He stated that the chamber was worried about the overshadowing effect of politics over economics in managing the Nigerian economy.

He stressed that government must not make mistakes in the organisation of free and fair elections to help position the country better globally and drive more foreign direct investments.

“Fiscal and monetary policies are at variance with each other with unclear policy on currency depreciation; the Gross Domestic Product on a downward spiral and inflation and exchange rates sky-high are worrisome.

“Government should explain why refineries are still comatose and non-functional till date.

“The frequency of the collapse of the national grid has become worrisome as the effect on industrialisation and its consequences on the economy are grave.

“The level of insecurity is harming economic activities and is also a threat to our political structure as it might disrupt the 2023 general elections except urgent steps are taken to contain and curb it.

“NACCIMA calls on the Federal Government to adequately kit security agencies with gadgets required to execute their Constitutional functions of maintaining peace within and around the country.

“These persisting challenges notwithstanding, we are optimistic they can be addressed through appropriate policy mix and implementations that can lead the economy back to recovery,” he said.

Addressing the 2022 Finance Bill, the NACCIMA President said the development would add more financial burden on the private sector presently struggling to keep businesses afloat.

He noted that the sector was currently beguiled by scarcity of FOREX, poor business environment, and high cost of energy amongst other macroeconomic factors.

He stressed that further tax increases on businesses might lead to the shutting down of many companies and worsen the already bad unemployment crises in the country.

“Considering the various challenges and economic difficulties faced by the private sector, NACCIMA expects government to encourage rather than discourage the real sector through policies that promote ease of doing business.

“And where government fails to lighten the already heavy financial levies and taxes on the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN), then further burden should not be placed on the struggling businesses of the OPSN.

“As leading member of the OPSN, NACCIMA appeals to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to take into cognisance the concerns of the business community by carrying all stakeholders along in policy formulation,” he said.

Udeagbala also called on all agencies of government responsible for organising the 2023 general elections to ensure a peaceful atmosphere that guarantees the rights of Nigerians to exercise their franchise without fear and rancour.

He stressed that INEC should constantly assure Nigerians and the world of its willingness and preparedness to conduct credible elections.

This, Udeagbala said, would give Nigeria credibility and improve its ratings among the comity of nations while also promoting democracy in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world in general.

“NACCIMA is committed to engaging the president-elect in a dialogue to discuss the challenges facing the business community and proffer possible socio-economic solutions to the myriad of challenges currently facing the nation.

“As part of our contributions to Nigeria’s economic development, we have decided to organise a digital economic conference themed Promoting a vibrant digital economy – a Catalyst for economic growth in Nigeria.

“The conference, scheduled for Jan. 31 at Abuja Chamber of Commerce’s conference centre is to establish potentials of the digital economy to promote job for youths throughout the country.

“The event will also establish digital hubs in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria that will present opportunities for youths to engage in digital technology for start-ups,” Udeagbala said.