NACCIMA calls for enabling policies, environment to drive private sector growth

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called on the federal government and its agencies to aid the growth of the private sector through the use of enabling policies and the creation of an enabling environment.

Speaking during the state of the nation press briefing, Ide John Udeagbala, national president, NACCIMA said there are chances that Nigeria’s accelerated recovery will be hindered by continuous institutional and infrastructural deficiencies that continue to plague the economy and stifle businesses.

“We need the enthronement of policy changes that will improve our ease of doing business, and leverage the private sector for infrastructure development and productivity,” he said.

Udeagbala said in creating enabling policies, there is a need for wider stakeholder consultations in policy design and implementation as a cohesive strategy to ensure that policies do not cancel each other out.

He said in creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and attract investments, there is a need to address challenges that have bedeviled the business environment for a long time.

The national president also said that the government’s efforts to generate foreign exchange and shore up foreign reserves do not go unnoticed by the private sector, however, the impact of these efforts is yet to be felt as he highlighted the continuous devaluation of the naira against the dollar.

“An exchange rate that is officially N415 to 1 dollar but about N585 in the unofficial market comes with consequences of increased costs of production of raw materials and consumables,” he said.

He urged that the government expand its sources for foreign exchange in order to address FX shortage while it looks to non-traditional sources of foreign exchange such as foreign direct investment and remittances from the Nigerian diaspora.

Furthermore, he said that the unabating bottlenecks at the ports have hindered the country’s quest of being a maritime hub in West Africa, adding that members still encounter man-made delays in processing the clearance of their goods at the ports.

For business owners especially manufacturers, the delay at the Apapa and Tincan ports causes various challenges for them. First, raw materials arrive in factories late, after manufacturers spend huge demurrage charges. These manufacturers, who are typically profit-driven enterprises, transfer the costs to the consumers who are cash-strapped.

“More seaports should be opened in the country with simplified clearing procedures, also the Customs and Excise Appeal Tribunal should also be established with the capacity of an ombudsman to resolve disputes arising from imports and exports at the ports,” he said.

Availability of adequate infrastructure is a major determinant of the success of every country’s industrial sector, however, Nigeria lacks the necessary infrastructure needed to grow businesses, especially developed transport systems as Roads are decrepit and although rails are coming up, they are not connected to the nation’s seaports.

Udeagbala noted that the country’s widening infrastructure deficit needs to be addressed with priority particularly the roads, rail, energy and power generation, etc.

“The most pragmatic solution to the problem of Nigeria’s widening infrastructure deficit is to seek a wider collaboration between the public and private sector, we propose this strategy due to the fact that capital expenditure has fallen short in implementation in recent years,” he said.

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