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LCCI seeks FG support for industries amid economic headwinds

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the federal government to create a special support mechanism for industries that play in critical sectors of the economy amid worsening macroeconomic challenges.

In a statement, the chamber says the government should provide support for manufacturers as the country strives to stabilise prices, boost FX inflows, and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

It added that it is imperative to recognise the pivotal role that certain companies play in driving growth, fostering innovation, and creating employment opportunities.

According to the chamber, these strategic companies, often operating in key sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and infrastructure, serve as the backbone of the economy, contributing significantly to its stability and resilience.

Read also: LCCI, others suggest ways to grow Nigeria’s economic

The chamber acknowledges the significant impact of the Dangote Refinery on the Nigerian economy, particularly in achieving national self-sufficiency in the production of diesel and aviation fuel.

It stated that the 650,000 barrels per day refinery, a project of monumental scale, has started to fulfil its promise by addressing critical issues in the Nigerian energy sector.

LCCI noted that the diesel pumped into the market last week by the Dangote refinery has helped crash the price of diesel from about N1,800 to N1,225 per litre, adding that with another tranche of supply in the coming days, the price of diesel is expected to drop to a low of about N1,000 per litre.

“If the refinery commences the production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) next month, petrol prices are also expected to dip, creating a great relief on the cost of energy across all sectors of the economy,” said Chinyere Almona, director general of LCCI.

“The LCCI recognizes the refinery’s contribution to enhancing energy security and reducing the country’s reliance on imported fuel,” Almona said.

“The availability of locally produced diesel signifies a significant step towards achieving self-sufficiency in energy production, ultimately bolstering Nigeria’s economic resilience,” she added

She stated that another game-changer intervention came from the commencement of international flights to the United Kingdom by Nigeria’s Air Peace.

According to the director general, this has become a delight to Nigerian travellers as this has forced foreign airlines to crash their prices by about 60 percent in response to the cheaper rates by Air Peace.

“We need more support for local companies to play in sectors that have hitherto been monopolised by foreign companies,” she said.

“More local airlines covering more international routes means more aviation supply chain-related jobs, more foreign currency savings and earnings, and more reduction in the prices of international flight tickets in Nigeria,” she noted.

“Enabling optimal utilisation of all our Bilateral Air Services Agreements creates a sustainable source of foreign currency savings and earnings for our country.”

She said that these companies, notwithstanding their strategic importance, are not immune to the adverse impacts of economic downturns, market uncertainties, and global disruptions.

The ongoing challenges, exacerbated by the rising cost of doing business and other socio-economic factors like threatening insecurity conditions, have intensified the need for targeted interventions and support from the government, she noted.

Read also: LCCI raises concern over accelerating inflation, lauds CBN fertiliser interventions

Therefore, we call upon the Federal Government to implement measures aimed at providing special support to these strategic companies, she said, adding that the support should include;

The concessional credit and low-interest loan facilitation, grants, or waivers to eligible companies to facilitate their operational continuity, investment in infrastructure, and technological advancement.

She called for the creation of a conducive policy environment by improving policies and regulatory frameworks that incentivize innovation, entrepreneurship, and long-term investment.

She urged the government to enhance international trade potential by facilitating market access and trade opportunities both domestically and internationally, enabling companies to expand their reach and tap into new growth markets.

Almona also called for the funding of innovative research and development by allocating resources towards initiatives aimed at promoting product diversification and value addition across strategic sectors.

By extending support to strategic companies, the federal government can stimulate economic growth, foster job creation, and promote inclusive development across Nigeria, she noted.

“These measures will contribute to enhancing the country’s competitiveness on the global stage, attracting foreign investment, and positioning Nigeria as a key player in the regional and international markets,” she said.

“We urge the federal government to prioritise the needs of strategic companies and take proactive steps to address their challenges.”

“By doing so, Nigeria can pave the way for a more resilient, diversified, and inclusive economy that benefits all segments of society.”