Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), have urged the Federal Government to adopt measures that will result in economic recovery and creation of needed jobs this year, by addressing concerns affecting operating cost.
With unemployment rate at an all-time high of 18.8% in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017, amid projections that the rate might be worse in the fourth quarter, the OPS noted that many Employers including the Public Sector found it difficult to pay workers as and when due in 2017.
This necessitated the need for measures that will impact on citizens’ welfare, especially lower food prices, reduced cost of healthcare, improved transportation system, constant power supply and security of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has projected a GDP growth of between 3-4 per cent in 2018 above the outlook by the World Bank and other international finance institutions.
According to LCCI and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the non-oil and manufacturing sectors’ recovery was somewhat slow because of issues of operating cost, investment climate and productivity faced by economic players.
Specifically, MAN noted that the manufacturing sector under-performed in the 2017 financial year, as indicators continue to reflect the sector’s gradual drift back into economic recession.
For the LCCI, among other issues, poor access to the ports due to bad state of the roads and absence of functioning rail had multifarious effects on the private sector, economy and the citizens as billions of Naira were lost to inefficiencies and inherent shortcomings in the Nation’s ports.
To address the ports’ challenges, the LCCI In its research findings, stated that the port can double its 2016 non-oil volume of 1.1 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) over the period of 2018-2019 if key reform measures are implemented.
Some of the reforms include the adoption and enforcement of an Integrated Advance Cargo and customs clearance system, with scanning, and tracking (SST) capabilities. The implementation of the National Trade Data Centre project that is readily accessible to all agencies, operators and stakeholders at all times and everywhere to eliminate inherent abuses, as well as full Implementation of a Single Window Platform.
“The situation with the manufacturing sector in 2017 was that of a partial relief, especially with respect to access to Foreign Exchange. Manufacturers reported an improvement in the liquidity of the Foreign Exchange market. These enhanced their capacity to import raw materials and boosted capacity utilization.
“However, Manufacturers expressed concern with respect to high interest rate, death of long term funds, poor infrastructure with respect to power and energy and logistics, especially the impact of the bad roads on the cost of transportation. Also, the inflow of fake and sub-standard products, weak patronage of locally produced goods, especially by Government Agencies and Ministries among others”, the LCCI Director- General, Muda Yusuf explained.