By Crusoe Osagie
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Wednesday vowed to lock horns with the Federal Government, over its plan to jettison the subsidy provided for petroleum products.
NACCIMA warned that the Federal Government’s planned removal of fuel subsidy scheduled to take effect from January, 2012 will threaten the well being of the citizens and erode purchasing power, therefore endangering trade and commercial activities in the country.
National President, NACCIMA, Mr. Herb Ademola Ajayi, explained that the hope of the masses for an improved tomorrow has been threatened by all sorts of theories and imaginings since the Federal Government announced the removal of fuel subsidy in the nation.
Ajayi, who spoke while addressing newsmen on its proposed “National Conference on Transforming Nigeria”, stated that the continued unstable value of the naira against the US dollar and other currencies is believed by many as inflationary and could be a major threat to the cost of implementation of the 2012 Federal and States budgets, as well as those of the private sector.
He pointed out that the recent and any further increases in electricity tariff, under the current inefficient situation of electricity will be unacceptable to the majority of Nigerians and said it needed to be reviewed in order not to further increase the already high cost of living.
According to him, it is a known fact that Nigeria is rich in crude oil and gas where it has earned billions of petrodollars but stressed that the country seems to be battling the challenge of translating the huge oil wealth into prosperity for all Nigerians in the new dispensation.
“Per capita oil revenue should normally have significant positive impact on per capita household consumption, electricity generation, Gross Domestic Products (GDP), agriculture and manufacturing. “We believe these are the intentions of Mr. President and his advisers, which as they say, are do-able but good intentions are not always enough. Good thinking, coupled with moderate sacrifices and belt tightening must not be over stretched beyond limits or without noting this nation’s unique circumstances,” he added.
The NACCIMA boss, however, said the cost of governance at the three tiers of public administration continues to re-vibrate as it represents one among the known highest in the world.
“This is one delicate area that the proposed conference will address with available facts and information,” he said.
In his words, “Meanwhile the issue of corruption cannot be ignored at the conference as the health and well being of the citizens and the economy have been seriously infected with the virus of corruption to the extent that for transformation to succeed, some form of therapy and anti-virus for discouraging further worsening of and gradual elimination of corruption at all levels of governance must be provided for.”
He said the conference which is scheduled to come up on the 2 of November 2011 in Lagos is targeted at security and the economy.
He noted that the country’s security has been severely challenged by recent developments where the state of insecurity is embarrassing and frightening.
He warned that the rampant occurrences of kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and more recently the indiscriminate acts of bombing and murder of Nigerians, even law enforcement agents, is simply terrorism, which is yet to be contained spells doom for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and the economy.
He said the economy has not grown in spite of on-going laudable reforms progressed as expected saying that the business community continues to grapple with the usual age-long challenging operating environment, policy inconsistencies and infrastructural constraints, particularly the almost over flogged issue of power and energy.
He added that the conference is being organised to provide answers to a number of burning issues on the economy, with a view to come up with a communiqué that would assist the government in achieving its on-going onerous task of transformation for the overall benefit of the Nigerian society.