3 years of Buhari: OPS demands better infrastructure, access to finance
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has urged the Federal Government to improve infrastructure, access to funds and disposable income of Nigerians toward achieving a robust economy.
The operators expressed their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
They spoke while assessing the three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and its impact on the real sector.
The Director-General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said the challenges affecting the real sector such as interest rates, multiplicity of taxes, bottlenecks in the business environment should be improved upon.
“No country in the world has ever done well without been industrialised. Imagine that immediately coming out of recession, government is increasing consumption tax in form of excise duty.
“They are just doing the direct opposite of what they should do, and I believe it is important that they should reverse that, regardless of which products that are being mentioned, because we are taking money out of the hands of the people,” he said.
The MAN boss appealed to the government to improve the disposable income of Nigerians through improved liquidity in the economy.
According to him, manufacturers warehouses are filled with unsold inventories, and that the sector would not be able to generate additional production activities and expansion, if the situation subsists.
Besides, he noted that there was uncertainty and apprehension from many quarters on whether government would sustain its activities in the economy with the election fast approaching.
“It is important that government keeps its focus and works on its reform activities and policy initiatives; and continues to consult with the private sector so that those areas that affect our growth and activities would be addressed,” he said.
The Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, said the government should address issues of access to and cost of fund in the country, which remains high, and impede economic growth.
“With commercial bank lending rate at between 20-35 per cent, depending on the borrower and other factors such as acceptability of collateral, it is very difficult to successfully access fund by the private sector especially the SMEs,” he said.
The LCCI boss acknowledged government’s efforts through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) to extend intervention funds to operators.
“However, the range of beneficiaries and economic impact of government’s intervention funds remain very limited. There is a need to improve it so that more Nigerians can benefit from it,” he said.
Yusuf also urged the government to address insecurity across the country because it had become a concern to businesses and a disincentive to local and foreign investors.
Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, Director-General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), said the government should concentrate more on developing the mining sector toward boosting the nation’s GDP.
According to him, as the country seeks to drive the growth of its non-oil sector, the mining industry should be repositioned as a strategic player, through effective implementation of the Solid Mineral policy roadmap.
Olukanni noted that countries like Australia rely and utilised mining to develop tier economies, and that Nigeria should take a cue from Australia’s success story.
Also, Mrs Joyce Akpata, Director-General, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said the government should improve on the nation’s infrastructure toward improving the performance and competitiveness of the non-oil sector.
She added that the diversification of the nation’s economy and increased investment in value-addition of natural resources should be vigorously pursued to boost economic growth, job and wealth creation.