Protect Vulnerable Sectors of the Economy, LCCI Urges FG

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Jonathan Eze
The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, has advised the federal government to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to protect vulnerable sectors of the economy and to ensure that there is effective enforcement of the rules of origin.

According to the chamber, the economy has been characterised by uncertainty which had affected investor confidence in the country and have caused a deceleration in the tempo of economic activities.

He noted that the apprehension of investors about the possible outcomes of the electioneering process as well as the electoral campaigns in the country had become worrisome to economic managers and business operators in the country.
Ruwase, made the disclosure in Lagos at a press briefing organised by the chamber in Lagos, recently.

Commenting on the country’s visa policy, Ruwase said the policy should be more liberal.
“We should grant nationals of selected advanced economies visa free entry into Nigeria for a maximum of 30 days,” he said.
This, he said was the practice in many of the emerging economies, saying such economies have benefitted tremendously from the policy, which according to him, impacts on the FDI, hospitality and tourism industry.

Ruwase, noted that the series of Executive Orders focused on promoting the ease of doing business were impacting positively on growth in the business environment.

He requested that the PEBEC secretariat should be further strengthened and the scope of its activities broadened to cover all sectors of the economy and all agencies of government that interface with the private sector, “We believe that the economy will be positively impacted if this is done.”

On state of power in the country, Ruwase said efforts made by government to improve liquidity in the power supply chain caused the drastic reduction in the debt owed to gas suppliers and the generating companies, improvement in power generation, and the enhancement of carrying capacity of the transmission grid.

He further stated that the power situations continue to pose challenges to business operators and that there have been complaints across all sectors about high energy cost especially high expenditure on diesel.

Ruwase, further maintained that the situation had worsened with the increase in global crude oil price.
“Many businesses spend as much as 20 to 30 per cent of their total operating cost on generating power to run their businesses. We propose that policies and incentives be put in place to encourage decentralisation and more off grid solutions.

“The government should encourage and facilitate more off grid power generation for improved access to power. The Aba and Sura market power initiatives should be widely replicated across the economy,” he added.