• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Sahad Stores: Economic policy confusion will spook investors warns Nweke Jnr

Presidential election result: Nweke sues for peace

A wave of panic swept through Nigeria’s business community this week as government actions targeting legitimate retailers raised concerns about policy inconsistency and eroding trust.

Recent measures, including the sealing of a prominent Abuja store, Sahad Stores  and threats of border closures,  have been seen as knee-jerk reactions by former Information Minister Frank Nweke jnr and not solutions to the country’s rampant inflation.

Populist rhetoric, business fear:

“Breaking into warehouses… is ill-advised and counterproductive,” Frank Nweke Jnr. said in his open letter titled “Sahad Stores- This is not time for populism”

He warns that such actions signal distrust towards businesses and discourage potential investors, who already navigate high uncertainties like insecurity and currency volatility.

Nweke Jnr. specifically criticizes the recent sealing of Sahad Stores, a major Abuja retailer, by the consumer protection agency (FCCPC). He questions the government’s authority to set prices and accuses them of “hoarding-shaming” businesses without understanding the complex economic forces at play.

Policy incoherence and lack of coordination:

Nweke Jnr said the proposed border closure to control grain prices is particularly concerning. “It is an admission of cluelessness and incapacity,” remarks Nweke Jnr., and further warns that such protectionist measures could worsen inflation and isolate Nigeria from regional trade.

The way forward:

Instead of resorting to populist rhetoric and punitive measures, Nweke Jnr. outlines a roadmap for improving the economic situation:

Improve Security: Restoring safety for farmers and businesses is crucial to boost food production and economic activity.
Align monetary and fiscal policy: The central bank’s tightening measures need to be complemented by responsible fiscal policies from the finance ministry.
Reduce Cost of Governance: Streamlining government spending and tackling corruption are essential to free up resources for investment.
Diversify the economy: Moving beyond oil dependence requires concrete steps to identify and support viable non-oil businesses.
Seek expert help: Nweke Jnr. urges the government to tap into the expertise of prominent Nigerians with proven track records in economic development.