LCCI Blame Nigeria’s Overdependence on Imports for Free Fall of Naira

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has blamed the nation’s overdependence on imports for the free fall of naira against the dollar.

Indeed, the Chamber raised concerns over the harsh environment for manufacturing outfits and the business community to thrive in the country, calling on the federal government to create the enabling environment for businesses to be competitive.

Speaking on the sidelines of its new members’ induction ceremony in Lagos, the LCCI president, Michael Olawale-Cole, said the naira devaluation has made household consumables and goods very expensive since most of the country’s demand are imported.

“It is very obvious as things have become very expensive, because we are an import based economy. We need to do a lot to produce a lot of what we need locally so as not to put too much pressure on our foreign exchange. The federal government needs to create the enabling environment for manufacturers and business people, so that a lot of what we need would be produced from these sectors,” he advised.

He also called on the federal government to encourage initiatives that would increase revenues for foreign exchange, lamenting that Nigeria’s major foreign exchange revenue earner is being hampered by oil theft.

“Bulk of what is produced is being stolen and that is why the federal government is not getting enough money to fund their debts and not to talk of providing infrastructure. We must intensify our efforts to address oil theft and until we address this challenge, we cannot get too far because the more we produce, the more the products get stolen,” he said.

He however urged the newly inducted members to take advantage of the opportunities the chamber offers to boost their profit margins while also remaining competitive at the global stage.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that came with it underscores the need for innovation and new models for organisations and institutions to meet the emerging needs and expectations, advising that as an innovative and dynamic institution, the crisis gave the Chamber the fillip to re-evaluate its operation model, rejig its processes and procedures and broaden its scope of services and policy advocacy initiatives and programmes to be able to adequately support the development of the business community and the economy in general.

According to him, the challenges created by Covid-19 portend new opportunities that businesses must never allow to waste away, pointing out that as the economic activities gather momentum across the world, it is imperative for businesses to seek out and seize the opportunities emerging in the global recovery.

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