…Gridlock crippling our N1tn investment — AMDON
By Godfrey Bivbere & Ebuka Oko
NIGERIA has lost about N6 trillion across the different sectors of the economy due to the Apapa gridlock, the Organised Private Sector, OPS, has said.
This is even as the Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria, AMDON, has decried the crippling of its businesses worth over N1 trillion.
The OPS, under the aegis of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, said at its 62nd Annual General Meeting in Lagos that there was an urgent need for policy reform for businesses to operate optimally.
Mr Mauricio Alarcon, the Second Vice President of NECA, said that operational hiccups being experienced at the port had remained even after one year of the Presidential Executive Order to promote transparency and efficiency on the operation.
He said, “Survey by the OPS shows that Nigeria lost about N3.06 trillion on non-oil export and about N2.5 trillion earnings annually across the different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock,” adding that the Federal Government should look at reforms that would significantly impact on the economy now that the elections were over.
Alarcon added, “There is the need to fast-track infrastructural development at the Lagos Port, diversification programme, market-driven foreign exchange management, sustain and a significant reduction in the cost of governance and address the Apapa gridlock.
“Government should also fast-track the passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, market-driven electricity supply and billing system.”
Alarcon said the government should reform the oil and gas sector by removing subsidy on the sale of petrol, which he said, gulped about one trillion naira annually.
He said that the government must urgently tackle the insecurity that had already increased unemployment and poverty in the country. “Unemployment surged from 9.0 per cent in 2015 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, while inflation remains high in spite of tight monetary policy conditions. There is also a spread of poverty. The economy needs to recover,” he said.
To support business, Alarcon called on the government to ensure the patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods at all levels through standardisation and certification.
He called for a friendly regulatory regime for businesses rather than crippling them and enforcement of harmonised taxes and levies by the Joint Tax Board.
Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of AMDON, Don Metche Nnadiekwe, said the Apapa gridlock has almost crippled their businesses and called on the government to quickly intervene.
“If I call one trillion naira, it could be small or it could be bigger. I know the worth of this Berger runs into billions because that is one of the biggest car markets in the whole world.
“Sometimes when the government wants to make certain policies they will look at the stakeholders and find out certain policies reflecting the prices of clearance and all that. They bought these vehicles and they have to make gain and how do they make the gain. It is by adding the clearing money on top of the vehicle to something to eat at the end of the day,” he added.