The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has tasked the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture in the country to look inwards and come out with innovations that will help move the country out of the present economic recession.
This was even as he expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to provide adequate legislative structure to move the economy out of recession and help to ease the sufferings of Nigerians.
Ekweremadu issued the challenge when he received a delegation from the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, which was on a working visit to his office at the National Assembly, today, ahead of the forthcoming 28th Enugu International Trade Fair.
He said: “The situation we have found ourselves now as a country is such that we are the only people who can save ourselves.”
He, therefore, emphasised the need for government agencies and the private sector to work together to diversify the nation’s economy to provide alternative sources of income other than oil.
He said: “The 28th Enugu Trade Fair could not have come at a better time in the history of our country than now that we are in recession and most of our friends are turning their backs on us. Some are moving their industries and businesses out of Nigeria; and investors are no longer confident in our system.
“So, this is time for all of us, particularly the various Chambers of Commerce to look inwards to be able to provide for ourselves those things, which we had expected others to provide or do for us.”
The deputy senate president said only economic diversification, propelled by fiscal federalism and initiatives by the various chambers of commerce could take the country out of the woods, permanently.
He added: “Economic diversification is primarily about the areas the chambers of commerce focus on, namely, commerce, industry as well as mines and agriculture.
“Every part of Nigeria has abundant mineral resources that can sustain each state and the development of the mines sector must be encouraged to boast non oil revenues. That is also where fiscal federalism comes in so that we can stop bottle-feeding the states.
“The agricultural sector and commerce also hold much potential for this country. Commerce is essentially what has given Nigeria an edge over others because while others focus on big businesses, we have small businesses all over Nigeria that are easily set up and employ small numbers but cumulatively massive numbers”.
The deputy senate president also emphasised the need for government-private sector initiative to reboot the industrial sector to boost productivity, grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and generate employment “instead of spending scarce resources to import what could be manufactured in our country.”
He prmosed that the National Assembly would look into the completion of the Enugu Trade Fair Complex as obtains in Lagos and Kaduna.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Ugochukwu Chime, said the successful hosting of the Enugu trade fair would go a long way to provide the needed buffer for the nation’s recessed economy, and engender growth and prosperity across board for Nigeria.
Chime also commended the National Assembly, especially the Senate for its emphasis on made-in-Nigeria goods and urged the National Assembly to appropriate funds for the completion of the Enugu Trade Fair Complex.