The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has decried the worsening business environment in the country that has left many industrial and manufacturing concerns in comatose while several others have shutdown.
This was highlighted yesterday in Ikeja, Lagos State, by the National President of NACCIMA, Mr. John Udeagbala, during the association’s first quarterly press briefing in 2023, where he stated that the Finance Bill 2022 that was passed by the National Assembly would have negative impact of the Nigerian private sector. “The 2022 Finance Bill attempts to add more financial burden on the private sectors that are presently struggling to keep businesses afloat,” he said.
Udeagbala also used the briefing to chide Nigerian political parties and their presidential candidates for ignoring serious intercourse with the members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) while struggling among themselves who would outperform the other in a political show in faraway Chatham House, London, United Kingdom.
He said: “We will start this press briefing by expressing our very grave concern on the worsening and depressing socio-economic conditions persisting in our country, which have left many industrial and manufacturing concerns in comatose, some others have closed down and many more Nigerians joining the unemployment market, resulting in more Nigerians in abject poverty with the consequent social menace.”
He also emphasised the need for Nigeria to embark on a structural adjustment that would transform the country’s economy from consumption to production in order to halt the steady decline of the Nigeria’s GDP, which has consistently been dropping quarterly since the second quarter of 2021.
“As a matter of fact, the GDP growth rate has been dropping on a quarter -by-quarter basis since the 5.01 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2021. The implication of this is that economic activities are contracting, and businesses are dying. The private sector has suffered humongous losses due to the absence of turnaround targets for the basic needs of businesses in Nigeria,” he said.
Udeagbala also called for a national dialogue between all the tiers of governments in Nigeria and the members of the OPSN to find solutions to the worrisome rate of unemployment in the country.
He said: “The increasing unemployment rates in Nigeria has become very worrisome. The National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) statistics indicates that over 60 per cent of the working-age are below 35 years of age and the unemployment rate among this class stands at about 60 per cent. This is besides the figure for under-employment among the working class. Experts have put the unemployment rate in Nigeria at approximately 40 per cent as at 2021 and this is extremely disturbing considering the social crisis that can result there from.
“As there has been no clear-cut government policy on employment generation since 2021 till date and with more companies closing down and many more graduates joining the unemployment market, we are highly worried that the nation is heading for the tipping point in its unemployment problems.”
The national president of NACCIMA also chided the country’s political parties’ penchant for hobnobbing with the Chatham House, London, while ignoring the invitation of the OPSN to attend the high level meeting of the OPSN with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on January 17 that was facilitated by the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
The meeting was used to launch the “OPSN Policy Priorities for Political Parties in Nigeria,” but none of the political parties sent any representative to the meeting
Udeagbala said: “You may have noticed the reoccurring pattern where Nigeria’s presidential candidates run to Chatham House in London to discuss the challenges of Nigeria’s political economy instead of engaging with the OPSN here in Nigeria.
“The OPSN and Nigerian people are the ones who bear the brunt of economic hardships in Nigeria, so why go to Chatham House London to discourse domestic challenges that are domiciled in Nigeria.
“The NACCIMA and the OPSN want the establishment of our own Chatham House here in Nigeria where our socio-economic challenges are discoursed, and solutions proffered to the challenges locally.”
He, however, added that the NACCIMA is committed to engaging the next president-elect on a dialogue “to discuss the challenges facing the business community and proffer possible socio-economic solutions to the myriads of challenges currently facing our nation.”