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6 months ago

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has lamented that poor power supply remains a major burden on businesses in the country.

Director General of the Chamber, Dr. Chinyere Almona made the lamentation Saturday in the business body’s message to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary.

LCCI further related that power is one area in which the trend since independence has been that of progressive decline, bemoaning that power supply has consistently lagged behind the pace of economic activities and population growth.

The anniversary message which was signed by Dr Almona recalled that poor power supply has impacted negatively on investment over the past few years with increased expenditure on diesel and petrol by enterprises.

“This also comes with the consequences of declining productivity and competitiveness. With the frequent collapses recorded by the national grid, we can no longer rely on a centralized power source. The way to go is renewable energy and decentralizing the national grid” Almona asserted.

Insecurity Dr Almona indicated is another challenge facing the country, noting that the situation has since deteriorated in the last year and lately, assuming a very worrisome dimension.

This, she regretted, has impacted investment inflow and worsened the country’s perception and image by the global investing community.

“Access to markets in the troubled parts of the country has been reduced for many enterprises, with negative consequences for investors’ confidence. Agricultural production bases have been negatively impacted, leading to food scarcity and rising food inflation” Almona lamented.

On the real sector, LCCI DG stated: “Over the last few decades, the challenges of production in the economy have grown progressively largely because of the quality of infrastructure, which is why the risk of industrial investment is high and continues to increase. The various policy interventions have not had the desired impact on the sector. Unless there is effective and sustained protection and support for the sector, and a dramatic improvement in infrastructure, the outlook for the sector will remain gloomy, particularly for the small-scale industries. Most SMEs are constrained due to the rising cost of production.

“It is impossible to have a vibrant manufacturing sector in the face of cheap imports into the country and high production and operating cost in the domestic economy. Some of these imports are landing at 50% of the cost of products produced locally. Besides, manufacturers have to worry about high energy costs; they have to worry about high-interest rates – 25% and above; they have to worry about a multitude of regulatory agencies making different demands on them; they have to worry about massive smuggling and under-invoicing of imports, they worry about trade facilitation issues at the seaports and many more. For most manufacturing SMEs, it is a nightmare. Yet production is critical to enduring economic and social stability”.

The way forward LCCI declared is to address the fundamental constraints to manufacturing competitiveness in the Nigerian economy, adding that in reality, job losses in the real sector have increased over the decades as productivity declined on the back of the difficult operating environment.

The country, LCCI stressed, is at a cross-road and in dire need of “big decisions to drive the drastic transformation the economy requires to return to economic prosperity”.

“Our nation, Nigeria, has come a long way and is too big to fail” the Chamber reasoned.