FEDAN Tasks FG on Enabling Business Environment

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Mary Nnah

The federal and state governments have been called upon to put all necessary measures in place towards improving the business environment in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of Fedan Investment Limited (FIL), Mr. Stephen Amaechi Chinemelem, made the call during the FEDAN Special Day at the 2021 Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF).

Chinemelem, who was represented by the General Manager (Administration), Mr. Joel Agba, lamented that apart from infrastructural challenges, business operators in the country are currently bedevilled with policy instability, multiplicity of taxes, problems of touts who pose as government officials to milk business organisations dry and other general security challenges that are affecting business operations negatively.

Chinemelem, whose company is the “Official Electrical Partner” of the 2021 LITF, also added that business owners were seriously bothered about the bottlenecks created by officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service, who have made clearing of goods at the port a hard nut to crack.

According to him, “As businessmen, we are worried about the absence of a reliable and credible dispute resolution system between the Nigerian business community and the Customs authority.

“We can’t help but lament over the challenges around classification and valuation with profound implications for variation in costs of imports. We urge the authorities concerned to wade into this quagmire which often makes us bend over backwards inadvertently. We call on the federal government to begin to put in place the process of modernising our port management systems, which some countries in Africa have done so that they can make doing business easy for those of us who cannot invest in ballot boxes!”

Speaking about the roads leading to Alaba International Market, FEDAN boss urged the federal and state governments to speed up the construction of roads along that axis to enable business operations to thrive. He decried the slow speed of the road construction, describing Alaba area as the headquarters of gridlock in Lagos.

He said, “We want to use this medium to commend the Lagos State Government for its efforts to rehabilitate roads across the state. We must however, let the government know that roads leading to Alaba International Market are still posing a nightmare to us. The snail speed pace at which the road rehabilitation at that end is going on is unfortunate. Our business activities have been subjected to problems associated with insecurity and low patronage because of the road, and it has become survival of the fittest for years. For us to still be in business takes the courage and the grace of God. You need to visit the area which can simply be described as “the headquarters of gridlock in Lagos!

“We plead with both the federal and Lagos State governments to help us fast track the construction so that we can expand more, employ more people, and therefore create more avenues for revenues for the government.”

Speaking further, he called on the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry to continue to take up government on these challenges being an organisation whose core mandate is business advocacy.

“The business environment is simply unbearable. We believe the government listens to the Chamber, and we are therefore pleading that you place these tailbacks in the front burner in your advocacy programmes in 2022.”

Chinemelem disclosed that the company decided to partner with the organisers because of the unbeatable records of hosting an amazing international exhibition the Chamber is reputed for.

He said that “partnership is indeed worthwhile particularly because of the roles the Chamber has been playing in advocating better business climate in Nigeria, and in Lagos in particular. Like Oliver Twist, we want to call you to continue to be our face in placing before the government the myriad of challenges we are facing in Nigeria, as a business enterprise.”