The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has asked President Bola Tinubu to provide more detailed plans and strategies to tackle inflation, insecurity, under-employment, and social inequality in the country.
The LCCI made this call in a statement signed by Chinyere Almona, director general, on Monday, as it reviewed the “President’s 2024 New Year Address to the Nation”.
“Acknowledging the challenges of high inflation (above 28 percent) and an unacceptable under-employment rate is crucial. However, specific strategies to address these issues were not mentioned, leaving room for concerns about the impact on citizens,” the statement said.
It added, “While efforts to address security challenges were mentioned, specific details on comprehensive security strategies were limited.”
“The acknowledgement that security problems are not entirely solved raises questions about the effectiveness of current measures.”
She noted that investment in agriculture has a limited chance of success as long as the government fails to deal with security issues.
Speaking on under-employment, the LCCI acknowledged that while the President’s decision to tackle under-employment in Africa’s most populous nation is a positive step, the administration has yet to provide more detailed plans and strategies to achieve it.
The commitment to building a fair and equitable society and addressing inequality is also commendable, the LCCI admits, however, it said, “specific policy measures to close the widening wealth gap are unclear.”
The chamber appreciated the President’s efforts to address these critical issues facing the nation and urged the administration to provide more detailed plans and strategies to tackle the challenges as a transparent and inclusive approach to governance will contribute to building public confidence and achieving sustainable economic growth.
Almona pointed out that commitment to power projects, including the Siemens Energy initiative and efforts to enhance the reliability of transmission lines, is a positive step towards addressing the critical issue of electricity supply, which aligns with the business community’s aspirations for a robust and diversified economy. However, there is an urgent need to address the structure of the power sector.
“The government needs to consider bringing private sector investment into the transmission segment of the power sector. This would ensure adequate technical and financial capacity for a well-functioning sector to power economic growth,” she said.
According to her, the focus on cultivating farmlands to grow staple crops and boost food security aligns with the need to ensure constant food supply, security, and affordability for citizens. However, LCCI cautions that the productivity of the farmlands and the effectiveness of investments in food production are subject to adequate security measures.
The chamber recommends that the government consider fast-tracking the movement of the police from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to be legislated upon by the federal and state governments, guaranteeing effective policing of the nooks and crannies of the society, particularly the farmlands.
The announcement of a new national living wage, it said, is a positive step towards ensuring the well-being of workers and promoting inclusive economic growth.
“The dedication to creating a conducive business environment is commendable. The assurance to simplify fiscal and tax policies, the commitment to removing obstacles hindering business competitiveness, and the call for collaboration with the private sector resonate well with the chamber’s vision for a thriving business environment.”
The LCCI believes that while removing the fuel subsidy was necessary, its impact on individuals, families, and businesses, leading to discomfort, must be carefully managed. The potential ripple effects on the cost of living and inflation must be closely monitored.