The Federal Government has been urged by the Organized Private Sector (OPS) to address crude oil theft and other macroeconomic fundamentals in order to steer the Nigerian economy toward growth.
At the third quarter council meeting of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), which was recently held in Lagos, they offered the advice.
Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, president of the LCCI, stated that the event was essential for reviewing significant economic developments and for expressing the chamber’s viewpoint to the larger business community and the government in support of a vibrant private sector.
The president of LCCI claimed that the national catastrophe of oil theft and the grave threat it posed to the country’s source of income.
He claims that Nigeria is losing crude oil at a rate of 91% of production, costing the nation $3.2 billion in stolen crude oil between January 2021 and February 2022.
“The twin factor of fuel subsidy payments and crude oil theft have combined to deny Nigeria the gains of the high crude oil price on the international market,” he said.
According to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), Olawale-Cole stated that the overall public debt stock of the nation increased from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion (about $100.07 billion) by the end of the second quarter of 2022.
He further stated that as of December 31, 2021, Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio was 23.27 percent as opposed to 22.43 percent.
The head of the LCCI stated that the development had already given rise to worries that many, if not all, of the assumptions in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2023–2025 would be incorrect.
He went on to explain that this was happening as the nation’s supply networks and agricultural production continued to be disrupted to previously unheard-of levels.
“In the face of rising debt servicing costs accompanied by a dwindling revenue, the provision of critical infrastructure and amenities like healthcare services, education, power, roads and security will be hard hit as funding shrinks,” Olawale-Cole said.
Olawale-Cole also advised the monetary authorities to liberalize the foreign exchange market by combining the various rates and making sure that rates were determined by the market in order to increase stability, liquidity, and transparency.
The Lagos State Government was praised for its efforts to promote the private sector and meet its demands under the THEMES agenda by Ude Udeagbala, President of NACCIMA, in his remarks.
As the election year draws near, Udeagbala asked people of the private sector to communicate with politicians and political parties to learn about their intentions for the sector.
“This would further help convey our plights to the incoming governments,” he said.
Mrs. Folasade Jaji, the secretary to the Lagos State Government, stated that the state will keep using suggestions from the private sector to identify problems it was facing.
In order to establish the state as the finest investment destination, Jaji, represented by Mrs. Olabisi Shonibare, Director, Political Affairs, charged the sector to employ best practices in trade, investments, and commerce.
According to her, “On our part, we would continue to promote a more friendly environment for enterprises and provide workable solutions to all the challenges.”