• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Business-friendly monetary, trade policies, others critical to exit recession- LCCI

LCCI canvasses better interface between regulatory agencies, SMEs

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says how soon the nation’s economy recovers from the current recession would dependent on the effective management of the coronavirus pandemic locally and globally, especially widespread vaccine rollout.

The chamber also listed other factors critical to the recovery of the economy, to include, establishment of business-friendly fiscal, monetary, trade and regulatory policies by the Nigerian government, as well as the performance of the global oil market.

Toki Mabogunje, president of the LCCI, at a press conference on the state of the economy, in Lagos, on Tuesday, believed the recession should be short-lived if the pandemic was well managed.

The chamber, therefore, called on the Federal Government as well as regulatory authorities to roll out business-friendly policies that will attract investment in order to accelerate the recovery.

“Investment-led growth strategy is critical for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. As the fiscal and monetary authorities are putting in place measures to drive recovery, it is imperative to consolidate these efforts by implementing key structural reforms, including recalibrating the country’s foreign exchange management framework and ensuring consistency in the policy environment to bolster investor confidence,” Mabogunje explained.

The LCCI president equally called for a unified exchange rate to bolster investors’ confidence, clarity and consistency in government policies, prioritising capital development projects like roads, power, education, etc.

The LCCI, nevertheless, projected a sluggish growth for the economy in 2021 starting from the second quarter of the year, saying the impact of the economy would linger into the year and cause the economy to experience growth within the one percent region.

“We expect the recession to be short-lived if the Covid-19 pandemic is well-managed at global, regional, and country levels. In the absence of major shocks, the Lagos Chamber expects the economy to return to positive growth path in the second quarter of year 2021 albeit the pace of recovery is expected to be subdued within the region of one percent,” she said.

The Nigerian economy entered recession in the third quarter of 2020 after two consecutive quarterly contraction propelled by pandemic-related disruptions. The recession is the second in five years that Nigeria has seen.

Speaking on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mabogunje said the LCCI has embarked on various activities, including a series of trainings to prepare Nigerian businesses on what to expect and how to effectively utilise the trade platform, adding that “the chamber is engaging other chambers of commerce in Africa like Egypt, for possible collaborations and partnership opportunities.”

“Many of these discussions will continue this year in order to ensure a problem-free trade relationship in the course of the trade agreement, especially with the Federal Government and other necessary agencies on how to fix the structural gaps for competitive advantage” she added.