By NAOMI UZOR
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed concerns over the increasing number of Asians taking over distributive trade in the country.
A communiqué issued by the council of LCCI and signed by its Director General, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said the gradual crowding out of indigenous enterprises in the distributive trade sector is worrisome.
“LCCI, therefore, calls on the appropriate agencies of government to quickly address the problem in order to protect existing jobs in the sector.
“LCCI also expressed concern about difficult access to credit, high interest rates and the persistent tightening of Monetary Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“This was considered to be in conflict with the desire to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Council expects to see, in the short term, the SMEs lending framework recently promised by the Nigerian Bankers Committee and also the persistent delays in the clearing of cargo arising from valuation queries. Most often the Customs Intelligence Unit would query the valuation of a cargo even when the Valuation Unit of the Customs had endorsed the cargo for release,” said Yusuf.
According to him, there are also many instances where cargoes are delayed for re-examination at the exit gate.” All these practices predispose the processes to corruption. Council therefore urges the Customs High Command to address this concern. The state of the roads leading to the ports has now become a major factor in ports congestion which has implications for cost of cargo clearance at the ports.