By Chris Onuoha
National President, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson has once again called on the federal government to ensure prompt and diligent implementation of budgets so as to sustain momentum in ensuring that the economy stays vibrant.
Alaba Lawson, while reaffirming the association’s progressive advocacy stance on the state of the nation’s economy stated that despite the rising debt profile which calls for caution, there’s need to channelled borrowed fund towards the development of critical infrastructure required for economic growth.
Lawson made this remark during an interactive breakfast meeting with NACCIMA corporate members and industry stakeholders held at NACCIMA’s Chamber in Lagos supported by Bank of Industry (BOI)to review government’s programmes, trade agreements fiscal and monetary policies for effective and sustainable economy in the country.
She said; “The nation’s economy is finally on a path of growth after five consecutive quarters of negative growth caused by the nation’s overdependence on crude oil. There is however, need to ensure that growth experienced in the economy is inclusive and sustainable in all sectors of the economy. It is a known fact that Nigeria currently produces more than half of the total GDP of the ECOWAS region and even the ECOWAS in a recent report early this, confirmed that the near stagnation of the ECOWAS economy in 2016 was due to the poor performance of Nigeria’s economy as at that time. This underscores the importance attached to the Nigerian economy both locally and regionally. We applaud the diversification efforts of the government and urged all stakeholders to ensure that the non-oil sectors of the economy which most of our corporate members are part of continue to contribute to the nation’s GDP in order to attain and retain the desired tradition.”
Speaking further, she said; “Seeing that high interest rates remain a cause of major concern to the association and all entrepreneurs who seek capital to invest in their businesses, NACCIMA therefore, urges the government to review and implement monetary policies which will bring down these rates and encourage businesses expand, thrive and create more jobs in the economy. However, more interventions are required to ensure that the inflation rate drop to single digits.”
She said that the Association reaffirms its stance that though the rising debt profile of the country calls for caution, there is need to ensure that borrowed funds is channelled towards the development of critical infrastructure required for economic growth and not for recurrent expenditure, while stressing that NACCIMA will continue to call for increased socio-economic and infrastructural development.
On the nation’s budget implementation, Alaba Lawson calls for prompt and diligent implementation of the 2017 budget in addition to sustain momentum in ensuring that the economy stays vibrant and investor confidence is sustained. “We also expect that based on the executive order passed in May this year by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to promote efficiency in the nation’s budget processes, there will be noticeable improvement and swiftness in the budgets compilation process. NACCIMA is concerned that when high inflation and interest rates meet with unemployment, it results in a very distressing trend, given that National Bureau of Statistics for the fourth quarters of 2016 stands at 14.2%.” she said.
Alaba Lawson also affirms NACCIMA’s full involvement in the processing of ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS) Certificates. She confirmed that NACCIMA already has over 50 Agreement/Contract MOU’s with different countries across the globe and also partnership with Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON, National Food and Drug Agency Council (NAFDAC) to assist Nigerian investors. She however, reinstates NACCIMA’s willingness to listen, advise and work together with investors.
A presentation made by Bank of Industry on project plans earmarked to aid Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs in Nigeria was by Ganiu Mohammed, General Manager, SME South, with theme: “The Role of Bank of Industry to SME Development in Nigeria”. Among the programmes drawn by BOI for these projects are lower interest rates with longer tenure and innovative financing solutions, significant attention towards Micro Small and Medium entrepreneurs to enhance their sustainability and social importance, support projects with potentials to create jobs value creation opportunities among others. He also enumerated other programmes to benefit fresh graduates, market women and youths in the country with a special BOI fund sector to cater the need of small investors.
Enugu workers hail Ugwuanyi on regular payment of salaries, others
Enugu State civil servants yesterday celebrated their civil service week, paying glowing tribute to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his sustained disposition to their general welfare since he assumed office.
The workers made the commendation at the Michael Okpara, Independence Layout , Enugu during the grand finale of this year’s week-long activities marking the civil service week.
Speaking on the occasion, chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Enugu state chapter, Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, explained that since assuming office, the present administration has continued to pay workers’ salaries not later than the 25th of every month, adding that the governor’s kind gesture has stood him out as about the most responsive and responsible governor in the country.
“ I must say that in the areas of paying salaries, His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is very responsive, just as the Head of Service said after highlighting the good deeds of the present administration. You can see that promotions are being released to workers, paying of leave allowances. Actually, he has been doing well. You can recall that His Excellency awarded houses to civil servants of lower grade, it is unprecedented”, Comrade Nwobodo noted.
He urged the workers to reciprocate the gestures by being dedicated to duty since according to him “labour is the engine room of every administration.”
Earlier in his speech, the State Head of Service, Mr. Chidi Ezema said the state civil servants are being placed in a better position to combat the prevailing economic crunch in the country because they receive their salaries regularly.
The Head of Service recalled reported harrowing experience of workers in some states of the federation in the face of the on-going economic crisis, stating, however that happily, in Enugu State, “His Excellency our governor has been living up to his responsibilities both in salary payment and other welfare packages”.
Addressing the workers on the occasion, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said that the present administration’s interest in the welfare of the workers was based on the initiative of moving the state forward.