INFLATION MAY RISE IN COMING MONTHS, LCCI WARNS
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that the nation’s inflationary trend may move higher in the coming months from the current 11.25 per cent as the nation continues to shut its borders to its West African neighbours. The National Bureau of Statistics at the end of September 2019 had announced that the inflation in the country had hit 11.25 per cent.
The outgoing President of LCCI, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, said this on Thursday at the 131 annual general meeting of the body, shortly before he handed over to a new president, Mrs Toki Mabogunje.
Ruwase, who noted that the Naira had been relatively stable against the US Dollar, which was largely sustained by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in the currency market, however, said that the continued injection of liquidity into the foreign exchange market to ensure the stability of the local currency was not sustainable.
He anchored his fear on the event of a potential crash in global oil prices which might weaken the CBN’s ability to defend the Naira. He said, “Inflation will most likely trend higher in coming months considering continued shutdown of the land borders, implementation of new minimum wage, proposed hike in Value Added Tax rate, festive-related consumer spending and recent flooding incidents which may affect harvesting of food crops.
“Increasing inflation may further worsen the poverty status of many and this calls for concern.” He commended the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on his pro-investment initiative, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, and series of Executive Orders which had moved Nigeria 15 places up the ladder in the 2020 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report to 131st position from 146th last year.
Ruwase, however, noted that the Federal Government still had enormous task of fostering an environment where entrepreneurs, the Small and Medium Enterprises could thrive better, stressing that sound and result-oriented business regulations were critical to private sector development. He said the Federal Government must tackle regulatory bottlenecks by some of its agencies which were hurting businesses, address insecurity and infrastructure deficit such as power and roads.
Ruwase, who commended the secretariat of LCCI, board, committees, business sectoral groups and the members for their support during his two-year tenure, said he could not have achieved the feat without them. He advised all members to improve their participation in the activities of the chamber by regularly attending meetings and events, while he added that they should extend the same hand of support to his successor, Mabogunje, who used to be the deputy president.
The Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said Mabogunje’s election would enhance the chamber’s role as a leading advocate of best business policy and practice, with the objective of promoting and protecting the interest of its members and the business community at large.