The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on President Tinubu-led administration to urgently embark on institutional reforms to complement its ongoing initiatives targeted at sustaining the nation’s economic growth.
The President of the organized private sector (OPS) group, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, made the call at the end of the 2023 Mid-Year Economic Review and Outlook event jointly organized by the Chamber and Cordros Capital to identify ways for business growth and sustainability in Nigeria and the global market.
The Director-General of LCCI, Dr. Chinyere Almona, in a communiqué issued at the end event, indicated that in the first half of 2023, the cost of living in Nigeria had significantly surged due to a combination of factors, especially the fiscal measures of the new administration.
The Chamber stated: “The first quarter GDP slowed to 2.31 per cent, primarily driven by growth in the non-oil sector while the oil sector remained in recession.
“The country also witnessed a significant decline in foreign direct investments (FDIs), coupled with a high level of public debt stock and concerns for debt sustainability, high unemployment, and poverty levels”, the OPS group added.
Noting that the general elections held in March 2023 were considered relatively peaceful and the transition completed in May, the Chamber, however, lamented that business conditions and operating environment in the first half of the year were not supportive to businesses
It attributed the inclement situation to rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, foreign exchange volatility, and the liberalization of the downstream sector of the oil & gas industry.
The LCCI stated: “As a result, the cost of living has significantly gone up. The first quarter GDP slowed to 2.31 per cent, primarily driven by growth in the non-oil sector while the oil sector remained in recession.
“The country also witnessed a significant decline in foreign direct investments (FDIs), coupled with a high level of public debt stock and concerns for debt sustainability, high unemployment, and poverty levels.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its July 2023 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update, lowered its growth projection for Nigeria in 2023 to 3.2 per cent from 3.3 per cent in 2022, reflecting security issues in the oil sector, policy risks, and persistently high inflation.
“To address long-standing macroeconomic imbalances and change the economy’s trajectory, the new government led by President Bola Tinubu introduced several reform policies, including fuel subsidy removal and foreign exchange unification.
“Furthermore, several palliative measures have been introduced to ease the effect on businesses, low-income people, and the most vulnerable”, it added.
Key among the recommendations of the participants at the 2023 Mid-Year Economic Review and Outlook include the need for an all-encompassing economic and fiscal plan, full/ partial divestment of state-owned real estate, improved transport sector, and energy assets as post-election priorities,
Others are that government must focus more on asset-based and equity offerings to improve revenue, liberalization of the fuel import licenses and other vital activities in the midstream and downstream, unlocking of revenue from assets by complementing tax with rent, fees, dividends, and capital gains.