NACCIMA President, Dr. Herb Ajayi
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) under the auspices of Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) in celebrating the nation’s 52nd Independence anniversary has berated the quality of standards and services of public institutions in Nigeria.
NACCIMA also criticised the poor states of infrastructure, quality of the financial systems, capacity utilisation and the macro-economic condition of the country.
The Chamber noted that the resultant effect was that for over 13 years of Nigeria’s democracy, the trade and investment sector has not reached the desired potential, as about 50 per cent of the population still languish in abject poverty as they live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day.
The Chamber made these observations through its President, Dr. Herb Ajayi during a media briefing commemorating the nation’s 52nd Independence anniversary, and noted that celebrating the country was different from celebrating politics, leadership or the economy.
“Available information to us reveal that while the nation witnessed various government initiatives, programmes and reforms at the three levels of governance to drive their agenda, a lot of energy was dissipated on self inflicted crisis management while at the same time we continue to struggle with the ‘bubble-burst’ pattern characteristic of past oil price cycles,” he said.
In addition he noted that the on-going efforts of our various governments with regards to infrastructure, especially power supply, though significant is yet to meet the expectations of Nigerians and the business community.
“The Nigerian business sector admits that this challenge is already being battled by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan with its Transformation Agenda. And with the development in the trade and investment sector picking up faster than ever, Nigerians cannot afford to be hopeless or despondent,” he said.
He stated that a critical analysis of Nigeria’s trade and investment sector since 1999 despite the achievements or improvements recorded on the performance of the economy, it must be admitted that the country like other developing economies has its own peculiar challenges.
Ajayi said that the prospects of positive improvements were also quite bright and NACCIMA has no doubt that the trade and investment sector environment, which is the pivot of economic growth, would continue to improve.
“We would like to draw attention to great advantages in reorganising our civil service, especially the human resources and expertise locked in within civil servants through training and re-training programmes because they are the most important managers of the nation’s policies and progress that would ensure the success of the transformation agenda,” he said.
He tasked the government consider putting in place entrepreneurial training by the OPS for Youth Corp members to help them discover themselves as employers of labour instead of applicants.
He also urged government to provide adequate support and patronage for locally manufactured processing equipment and machine spare parts in order to promote the growth of SMEs in the country.
“We counsel that companies that have failed to fulfill the contracts signed with the Privatisation Agency are overdue for review and with due process sanctioned to return these Nigerian assets to better management. An example is the Lagos Trade Fair complex, which is a potential goldmine and an international trade promotion tool through the fast growing mega city of Lagos,” he said.
The OPS called on the authorities to find temporary and permanent reliefs for flooding which occurred in about 21 states of the country, recording a number of deaths, displacement of persons, erosion, temporary destruction of farm-lands, roads and bridges.
Ajayi recommended that all tiers of government must consider having budget provisions and preparations for these annual emergencies. They also used the opportunity to congratulate some MDAs such as Ministries of Foreign affairs, trade and investment, finance, agriculture, steel and solid minerals development; The CBN, BOI, NIPC, FIIRO, RMRDC and the ITF.