By Moses Nosike
The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and agriculture (NACCIMA) Dr. Simon Chukwuemeka Okolo, MFR has declared that the shortfalls on the 2010 federal budget should be an eye opener to government on the great need to fast track the power sector reforms to ensure adequate energy supply that will engender increased economic activities in the country.
He made it clear that the unrelenting world financial crisis that continues to throw international crude oil prices into turmoil clearly points to the need for Nigeria to diversity its economy from over dependence on oil sales to increased manufacturing and Agricultural Production.
Okolo made it clear that the continuing poverty, unemployment and hardship in the country may never end unless there is a drastic drop to Nigeriaâ€™s crippling economic climate which the power sector reforms might usherÂ in.
He noted that the problems of low capacity utilization and cost of alternative energy stifling the countryâ€™s industrial landscape with resultant increase in the nationsâ€™ already high unemployment record needs a quick fix of the countryâ€™s power sector reforms to deliver the goods, adding that Nigeriaâ€™s efforts to drastically increase its industrial production can only be effective when there is adequate power supply in the country.
The NACCIMA boss who is also a member ofÂ the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) further called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to urgently address the issue ofÂ high bank lending interest rate to a single digit to enable investors and industrialistâ€™s have access to cheap credit making it clear that the nationâ€™s development and Industrial landscape will remain in perpetual gloom unless there is accessible venture capital in the system.
He noted the various funds the CBN hasÂ been set aside for some sectors of the economy to access which he described as a drop in the ocean and destined to induce inflation in the economy if the practice continues.
HeÂ added that there is no substitute to a functional monetary system that will ensure low interest rate and an improved value ofÂ the naira.
On the massive retrenchment of bank workers that came on the wake of the banking reforms, he urged government to show deserved concern on the plight of the sacked bank workers that have now added to the already bloated unemployment market of the nation.
â€œEfforts must be made by government to address this issue;sack of the workers should not be the only option open to the banks.Also government must exhaust all avenues that will help to create job opportunities to absorb the hordes of the unemployed in our midst to reduce poverty, hardship and rising crime wave in the countryâ€ Dr. Okolo stated.