The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase, has reaffirmed that the chamber is resolute in promoting policies that supports private sector development and the general progress of the economy.
According to him, LCCI has been consistent in policy advocacy and providing business development services to the larger business community led to the notable rise of the chambers profile within the last one year.
The president made this remarks in Lagos during the 130th Annual general Meeting of chamber recently.
However, Ruwase highlighted the challenges that affected growth of the economy during the year.
According to him, “there was high interest rate, weak GDP growth, weak consumer demand and the traffic gridlock on the Lagos port roads.”
According to him, the Lagos ports have been classified among the worst ports in the world in 2018, due to challenges bordering on delays of imports/exports processes, heavy human and vehicular congestion to and within the ports and also the difficulty in gaining access to the ports due to bad roads and security concerns.
Ruwase stressed that 40 per cent of businesses located around the ports communities have been stifled and forced to relocate to other areas, scaled down operations and completely shut down.
He pointed out that there was a shortfall in oil price to $60 per barrel, from a peak of $86 in early October this year.
He further explained that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, from 1.95 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, from 1.95 per cent in the first quarter.
“This underlines the fragile nature of the economy and the need to accelerate the economy diversification process,” he added.
He further explained that with population growth rate of about three per cent, the implication of the current economic conditions for poverty and welfare were worrisome.
However, Ruwase, said the CBN cited factors such as slow recovery in the economy, rising inflation rate, late implementation of the 2018 budget, rising level of non-performing loans in the banking system, weakening demands and the expected minimum wage as reasons for maintaining its monetary policy stance.
The Chamber stated that the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business that ranked Nigeria 146 out of 190 countries showed that the country took a step backwards from the 145th position in 2017.
It however, commended efforts of the present administration through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council and series of Presidential Executive Orders targeted at improving the business environment.
“We believe that government still have enormous task of fostering an environment where entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprise can thrive better.”