By Ugo Aliogo
The Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the federal government to resist the pressure to sell the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and other national assets, describing the action as a defeatist response to the current economic crisis facing the country.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the LCCI to THISDAY corporate office in Lagos, as part of efforts to create awareness for the forthcoming Lagos International Trade Fair, LCCI Vice-President and Chairman, Trade and Promotion Board, Sola Oyetayo, said government has sold some assets in the past and the economy has not improved.
while appealing for critical thought about the decision, he explained that NLNG, for the records, has been a success story, noting that most of the investments controlled by the private sector are not totally successful.
Oyetayo said: “There is need for proper thinking; evaluation of the various industries and find out the one that needs to be sold. We should not rush to sell.”
He stated that the growth attained in many sectors of the economy has not been sustained in the past, adding that there is the need to sustain economic growth through diversification of the economy.
Speaking on the trade fair, with the theme: ‘Positioning the Economy for Diversification and Sustainable Growth’, Oyetayo stated that the event would hold from November 4 to 13 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan, and Eko Hotels, Victoria Island all in Lagos State. He said the fair will provide the opportunity for exhibitors, various trade groups and professionals to advertise their products and ideas.
According to him, a targeted 500,000 visitors are expected from within and outside the country, adding that there will also be exhibitions for the creative industry and essay competitions for 75 selected schools in the state.
The LCCI VP appealed to THISDAY for media coverage of the event, while commending it for support in the past.
He said: “You can have a stand there, which will provide an opportunity to meet with exhibitors. We are not making it a win-win situation, but there is an opportunity for you to benefit.
“There is need for a clear policy direction. We don’t have the political will to do what we feel is right. The present government is not decisive. If we continue with the level of corruption, it is going to be disastrous. We need to go back to the development plan and start all over again. If we take the next four years to plan, there is every indication that the chances of being re-elected will be high.
“We should build a political will and start a re-planning process. We need to be careful on importation of food items so that it would not be injurious to the health of Nigerians.”
He further urged government to build the enabling environment to boost export, stating that there is need to create a strong comparative advantage before exporting, develop fiscal policies which would discourage imports and build effective policing across the borders.
Oyetayo also remarked that if government needs to borrow, it should be done to improve infrastructure, stressing that government needs to encourage the food chain business to make money for the economy.