How Nigeria can build sustainable economy, by LCCI

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has highlighted steps Nigeria can take to build a sustainable economy.

The Director-General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, in an Independence Anniversary statement, described the effective implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act as critical to reforming the oil and gas sector and positioning it to attract more quality foreign direct investments.

She said such reforms would also boost investment in the sector, increase revenue and create many more quality jobs in the economy.

She said streamlining of the foreign exchange management to reduce the cost of stabilising the exchange rate, boost the supply of the forex into the economy, prioritise the unification of the multiple exchange rates, and broaden the scope for a market-driven exchange rate. 

Almona said, “All of these are essential to reduce the systemic distortions and disruptions resulting from the current model of foreign exchange management. It is important as well to deemphasise demand management and scale-up strategies to support the supply side of the forex make.

“Urgent need for strategic responses to the looming fiscal viability and solvency crisis at all levels of governments.  Acute revenue challenges are becoming an increasingly disturbing scenario at all levels of government. We need to urgently deal with the escalating cost of governance, fiscal leakages, and revenue optimisation issues.”

According to the LCCI, there is a need to reduce the emphasis on attracting and retaining portfolio inflows with the high-interest rate to the detriment of domestic investment. 

Almona said, “We should prioritise the attraction of foreign direct investments by addressing the key investment environment issues to inspire investors’ confidence.

“FDIs have a much bigger potential impact on job creation, poverty reduction, and economic inclusion. The capital importation levels recorded for the first half of this year show poor performance.”

She said without a sound infrastructure base, it would be difficult to achieve the various socio-economic objectives of government at all levels. 

She said, “Infrastructure investment is a key driver of economic growth and development.  Budgetary allocations have proved to be grossly inadequate for effective funding of infrastructure in Nigeria. Neither can we continually depend on debt financing as the debt profile is already at an unsustainable threshold. 

“It is thus imperative to seek innovative ways of effectively fund infrastructure in Nigeria.  We need to develop new strategies to attract private sector capital to the infrastructure space.  This should cover the broad spectrum of infrastructure provision – roads, railways, airports, waterways, electricity, and transition to renewable energy.”

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