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Economy: LCCI lauds Tinubu, reviews highlights of New Year’s address to Nigerians

The Commerce House of LCCI, in Lagos

*Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA, Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the Chamber applauds President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s efforts at addressing critical concerns in the economy, stating the LCCI is highlighting the positive, concerning and vital aspects of the Federal Government’s achievements and challenges faced and outlined plans to tackle them in the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the current administration intensifies efforts at addressing critical concerns in the Nigerian economy, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says it has reviewed the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s speech delivered Monday, January 1, 2024, as he highlighted vital aspects of the Federal Government’s achievements and challenges faced and outlined plans to address them in the country.

The Chamber, which disclosed this development in a statement issued Monday, commended President Tinubu for his New Year’s address to Nigerians.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, addressing Nigerians January 1, 2024

Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA, Director-General of LCCI, in the statement said: “As the voice and representative of the business community, we acknowledge the challenges faced in the past year and commend the President for his commitment to addressing critical issues that impact the economic landscape of Nigeria.

“The Chamber carefully reviewed the President’s speech as he highlighted vital aspects of his administration’s achievements and challenges faced and outlined plans to address these critical concerns.”

Almona also disclosed the Chamber had identified positive and concerning elements from the address to foster constructive dialogue and provide a comprehensive analysis.

She also remarked: “The commitment to power projects, including the Siemens Energy initiative and efforts to enhance the reliability of transmission lines, is a positive step towards addressing the critical issue of electricity supply, which aligns with the business community’s aspirations for a robust and diversified economy.”

On addressing the ‘structure of power sector’

In regard to the government’s measures on tackling the identified challenges in the power sector of the Nigerian economy, the LCCI, however, said that there is an urgent need to address the structure of the power sector.

Dr. Almona noted: “The Government needs to consider bringing private sector investment into the transmission segment of the power sector.

This would ensure adequate technical and financial capacity for a well-functioning sector to power economic growth.

“The focus on cultivating farmlands to grow staple crops and boost food security aligns with the need to ensure constant food supply, security, and affordability for citizens.” The Director-General stated the LCCI, however, cautioned that the productivity of the farmlands and the effectiveness of investments in food production are subject to adequate security measures.

“Investment in agriculture has a limited chance of success as long as the Government fails to deal with the security issues,” she said.

Recommendations on Police reforms, New National Living Wage

The statement said: “LCCI recommends that the Government consider fast-tracking the movement of the Police from the Exclusive list to the Concurrent list to be legislated upon by the Federal and State Governments.

“This will guarantee effective policing of the nooks and crannies of the society, particularly the farmlands.”

The Chamber further stressed that the announcement of a new National Living Wage is a positive step towards ensuring the well-being of workers and promoting inclusive economic growth.

It said: “The dedication to creating a conducive business environment is commendable. The assurance to simplify fiscal and tax policies, the commitment to removing obstacles hindering business competitiveness, and the call for collaboration with the private sector resonate well with the Chamber’s vision for a thriving business environment.

“The LCCI believes that while removing the fuel subsidy was necessary, its impact on individuals, families, and businesses, leading to discomfort, must be carefully managed.”

In terms of the far-reaching effects of the new National Living Wage on the well-being of Nigerian workers, the LCCI stated: “The potential ripple effects on the cost of living and inflation must be closely monitored.

“Acknowledging the challenges of high inflation (above 28%) and an unacceptable under-employment rate is crucial.

“However, specific strategies to address these issues were not mentioned, leaving room for concerns about the impact on citizens.

On effectiveness of current security architecture and measures

The Chamber as well stated as efforts at addressing the current security challenges were mentioned, specific details on comprehensive security strategies were limited.

According to LCCI, the acknowledgment that security problems are not entirely solved raises questions about the effectiveness of current measures in the West African country.

Almona also said: “The commitment to building a fair and equitable society and addressing inequality is commendable. However, specific policy measures to close the widening wealth gap are unclear.

“Despite the setting parameters for the evaluation of ministers and heads of agencies mentioned, there is a need for transparency in these evaluations to ensure accountability and performance improvement.”

The Director-General restated: “The LCCI appreciates the President’s efforts to address these critical issues facing the nation.

“However, the Chamber urges the administration to provide more detailed plans and strategies to tackle these challenges, such as inflation, under-employment, security, and social inequality.

“A transparent and inclusive approach to governance will contribute to building public confidence and achieving sustainable economic growth.”

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