Ugo Aliogo, Nkechi Naomi and Ifediora Ujunwa
The President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Dr. Nike Akande, has called on the federal government to shift focus from a single product based economy to a non-oil export sectors in order to drive economic diversification.
Akande who disclosed this weekend at a media briefing in Lagos, said economic diversification was needed for the economy to thrive and create jobs for the growing youth population.
She applauded the government for its efforts in bringing out the economy from recession, stressing that it would impact positively on investorsâ€™ confidence in the economy, and it is also an indication that some government policies have positively impacted on the economy.
The LCCI President explained that some of the factors that facilitated the exit from recession were improvement in oil prices, and oil output, improvement in the liquidity of forex market, commitment of government policy to ease of doing business and reform in forex policy.
She noted that the positive trend witnessed in the stock market in the past few months, was largely due to the outcome of recovery in key macroeconomic indicators and a boost in investorsâ€™ sentiments, stressing that they were driven by policy implementations such as the creation of the investors and exporters window, increased dollar liquidity and exchange rate gains.
Furthermore she said that as the quality of local production improves, there would be demand for them locally and internationally, adding that with more patronage manufacturers would be encouraged to improve the quality of their products and competitive globally.
Akande said: â€œFor our country to sustain the momentum of recovery and the current positive outlook, we need to ensure the following. There must be reduction in multiplicity of exchange rates, alignment of procurement policies at all levels of government to support domestic investment, investment policy that would protect domestic investors, tax policy which is investment friendly, interest rate policy which is investment friendly and trade policy that will reduce cost of operations across sectors.
â€œIt is expected that the recently released executive order should create a better environment for good governance, procurement practices, contract execution and protection of investorsâ€™ rights. The executive orders should be fully enforced to improve the ease of doing business.â€
â€œWe need to have success stories about Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) and concession entered by government so as to attract more private sector participation in the economy. We call on government to sustain the current reforms in critical sectors such as agriculture, power, solid minerals and oil and gas.
â€œWe applaud the recent approval by the federal government to concession two airports- the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Abuja. While the chamber is concerned about the multiplicity of exchange rates, we also note that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been consistent in its intervention in the forex market. This has reduced exchange rate volatility in the market.â€