Nigeria@62: FG must sustain non-oil campaign, financing to boost manufacturing An analysis by Rukayat Moisemhe, News Agency of NigeriaAs the Federal Government rolls out the drums to celebrate the country’s 62nd independence anniversary, stakeholders in the manufacturing industry insist targeted campaigns and financing must be sustained to boost non-oil exports in order to achieve economic growth.
The call is, indeed, imperative seeing that the country’s economy, 62 years post independence, is said to be a mixed bag of lows and highs.
At 62, Nigeria remains the biggest economy on the continent with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 510 billion dollars.
The country is also ranked sixth among the top ten manufacturing destinations on the continent.
Economic indicators reveal that the country’s GDP grew in the second quarter of 2022 by 3.54 per cent year-on-year in real terms, while its oil sector has consistently recorded negative growth for the ninth consecutive quarter, contracting by -11.8 per cent.
Combined, key drivers within the non-oil economy accounted for 78.3 per cent of total GDP in Q2. Compared to countries like Cameroon, Togo, Madagascar, Somalia, Gabon, Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania, and a host of others, that attained independence in 1960, experts believe that even though Nigeria is not doing badly, there is great room for improvement.
Dr Chinyere Almona, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), stated that the country’s economic growth trend, measured by the performance of GDP, had generally been positive over the last two decades.
She, however, noted that the growth of 1.2 per cent recorded for agriculture and the 3 per cent for manufacturing were comparatively low when compared with other sectors that grew at above 5 per cent.
She stated that the quality of the business environment remained a concern to investors, especially in the manufacturing sector.
According to her, weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment, and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of many enterprises in the economy posing a major risk to job creation and economic inclusion across sectors.
The LCCI DG noted the need to address the weak government revenue base caused by oil theft and pipeline vandalism, rising and unsustainable debt profile, over-dependence on oil revenue, exposure to foreign shocks through inadequate forex supply and double-digit inflation.
In view of this, Almona stated that the Federal Government must sustain its targeted interventions in selected critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure and tackling insecurity.
She added that if oil revenue made up more than 80 per cent of government revenue, government was expected to tackle the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism with sterner approach.
“It is impossible to have a vibrant manufacturing sector in the face of cheap imports into the country and high production and operating cost in the domestic economy.
“For most manufacturing businesses, it is a nightmare; yet, production is critical to enduring economic and social stability.
“The way forward is to address the fundamental constraints to manufacturing competitiveness in the Nigerian economy.
“Our nation is at a crossroads and in dire need of big decisions to drive the drastic transformation the economy requires to return to economic prosperity,” she said.
Looking back, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the discovery of oil ushered in a period of prosperity in the form of huge oil revenue from export of crude oil and more domestic infrastructural development was embarked upon.
The MAN DG stated that the manufacturing sector had been largely unimpressive as the country remained largely import dependent.
He noted that the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war had compounded the familiar challenges that had limited the growth and development of the manufacturing sector.
He added that inflation; which had risen to 20 per cent; interest rate at double digits, high rate of foreign exchange and the non prioritisation of allocation to the sector truncated its growth prospects, disrupted its operations and continued to limit the potential of the sector for expansion.
“There is, therefore, the need to address the binding constraints that have continued to militate against the performance of the manufacturing sector and limited its share of contribution to the GDP,” he said.
He recommended that investments in local raw materials through direct incentives must be encouraged and significant proportion of available foreign exchange must be allocated to the productive sector, particularly manufacturing.
Ajayi-Kadir stressed that export support policies, like the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), must operate as planned and other support policies must be allowed to gestate before they are changed.
“The country must improve power supply by removing the impediments to access of the eligible customers scheme by manufacturers.
“We must review the curricular of tertiary institutions to align with industry skill requirements and subject to update based on the direction of global changes.
“Existing major economic road corridors must be rehabilitated and new ones must be constructed for seamless movement of raw materials to factories and finished goods to the markets.
“Also, the capital base of the Bank of Industry (BOI) must be improved to allow for adequate lending to the productive sector by the bank,” he said.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Founder, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE), noted that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) aviation, transportation, education sector, health sector, print and electronic media and many more had been significantly transformed over the past six decades.
Accordingly, Yusuf said the economy had witnessed impactful private sector footprints in many sectors, which had made the Nigerian economy to grow in leaps and bounds over the years.
He, however, stated that the country’s macroeconomic management framework continued to pose serious challenges to investors in the economy as the fragile macroeconomic conditions remained a major cause for concern.
The situation, he posited, had been compounded by the shocks and disruptions inflicted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the manufacturing sector, Yusuf said high infrastructure deficit, cargo clearing challenges worsening at the ports, weak productivity, regulatory challenges and policy inconsistency, among others, continued to beat down the sector’s potential.
As way forward, he stressed the need for urgent steps to be taken to ensure a better macroeconomic management framework to stabilise the exchange rate, eradicate the challenge of illiquidity in the foreign exchange market and stem the current depreciation of the naira.
“Institutional reforms are necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions have better disposition to support the growth of investment and focus less on the generation of revenue.
“The international trade process needs to be reformed to prioritise trade facilitation.
“The current obsession for revenue generation is hurting the international trade processes and impacting adversely on domestic and foreign investment.
“Therefore, the orientation of the Nigeria Custom Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, the shipping companies and the terminal operators and the security agencies at the ports need to change in favour of an investment friendly international trade processes,” he said.
The journey thus far for the Nigerian economy, particularly manufacturing, has no doubt, been fraught with daunting challenges.
But experts believe that the country has the potential to attain economic growth and development.
The Lagos State Government through the state Employment Trust Fund, says it has supported 3,673 businesses with the sum of N1.56 billion as grants.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State made this known at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Economic Summit Group (LESG) Private-Public Partnership Pre-Ehingbeti Stakeholders Engagement on Tuesday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event had the theme: “Building a Sustainable Future for a Greater Lagos”.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, added that the state government had also provided mentorship, business advisory to young people to start and grow their businesses.
According to him, the state government also supported 1,835 small businesses with N985 million which has led to the creation of 10,500 direct jobs in the state.
Sanwo-Olu explained that his administration had put N1 billion into Agricultural Value Chain businesses to provide food and create jobs in the state.
He said: “the Ehingbeti Summit, achieved its purpose through the meticulous and faithful implementation of innovative ideas and suggestions like the establishment of numerous initiatives which included the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. “Also, Lagos State Security Trust Funds among others that have enhanced the living standard of Lagos residents and the state enviable status as the economic nerve centre of the country.
“The key infrastructure that dots the landscape of Lagos as well as pioneering initiatives that have profoundly elevated the status of Lagos as a functional mega city, speak to the quality of resolutions of past summits.
” The governor stated that private-public partnership pre-Ehingbeti stakeholders engagement was organised to sensitise key stakeholders on the 2022 summit.
“The summit will seek their input on the proposed 30 years Lagos state Development Plan which will be unveiled at the summit for deliberation and final adoption for implementation.
” Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Samuel Egube assured that the government would continue to collaborate with private sectors, not only on the 30 years development plan but on the development of the state in general.
Egube who is also the Co-Chairman, Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit, explained that the summit had played a vibrant role in the development of the state.
He said: “Resolutions from past summits have brought developments such as the Ikoyi Link Bridge, BRT Project, the Red and Blue Rail Project which will commence operation soon.
“Others are Lagos Free Trade Zone and the Imota Rice Mill among many others.
” Similarly, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo noted that the Ehingbeti Economic Summit, was about the state’s deliberate agenda for a greater Lagos.
The commissioner said it had the absolute inclusion of different stakeholders and disclosed that the state government had fulfilled about 90 per cent of the action plans from the last summit.
“This will be reported during the forthcoming summit holding from Oct. 11 to 12. Speaking, the LCCI President, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole represented by the deputy president, Mr Gabriel Idahosa said that the decision of the state government to collaborate with the LCCI on the 30 years Development Plan, reflected government’s appreciation and recognition of the Organised private sector in the realisation of the socio-economic objectives of the state and nation in general.
He, therefore, assured of the chamber ‘s support in ensuring the effective implementation of the state development plan and promised to enlighten the business community of the opportunities and benefits that were in the plan.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Friday said the 2022 Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) would be used to exploit the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This, the chamber said, was following the confirmation of attendance of many African countries.
Engr. Keye Kupoluyi, Chairman, trade promotion board, LCCI, said this during a press conference in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 2022 LITF is scheduled to hold at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, from Nov. 4-13. The theme of the event, which would be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari is, “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value.
” Kupoluyi said the fair would boost global and regional trade for start-up brands, big industries, tech hubs and multinational companies and strengthen existing foreign partnership ties to support African trade.
He said invitations had been sent to over 50 countries with India, Japan and Ghana’s interests at the fair confirmed and talks at advanced stages with countries like Cote de Ivoire, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Zambia, and Indonesia.
He added that many corporate organisations, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and private sector operators had announced their readiness to explore the opportunities of this year’s trade fair.
“About 54 countries have been invited to this year’s LITF and many of their ambassadors were visited, and 10 have already confirmed their participation while others are still processing their participation.
“The LITF promises to be bigger, better and more beneficial for LITF, investors, foreign partners and the global economy.
“Our sponsors are ready such as the United Bank for Africa Plc, Dangote Group, Choice International Group (Makers of GREE Air-conditioners), MTN Nigeria, FEDAN Investment Ltd., De United Foods Ltd., Bank of Industry (BOI), and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc are ready to take the centre stage.
“I assure you that this year’s event will be far better, bigger, safer and more prosperous for all of us largely because the global pandemic which had impacted negatively on the fair in the past two editions has now been effectively curtailed,” he said.
Kupoluyi added that the event, because of the confirmed increase of visitors and exhibitors, shall be at the cricket pitch area for more space to meet exhibitors’ demands and more opportunity for improved logistics and ambience.
“This year also, we intend to have an ICT hall, to give our partners and other participants in the sector deserved prominence, visibility and business opportunities.
“For the first time in the history of the LITF, insulated panels shall be provided for our exhibitors and a children’s corner to celebrate Christmas with interactions with father Christmas and lots of gifts is part of the trade fair package this year,” he said.
Also, Director-General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, projected that the fair would ensure that businesses met sales target, boosted trade volume, eliminated market restrictions and integrated wider markets for more investments.
She said LITF would support the AfCFTA agenda to enable key African markets engage countries across the world.
Africa emits less than 1% of global carbon—Osinbajo Africa emits less than 1% of global carbon—Osinbajo Carbon By Chijioke Okoronkwo Abuja, Sept. 22, 22 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says African countries account for less than one per cent of cumulative global carbon emissions.
Osinbajo disclosed this in his keynote address at the 60th Anniversary Dinner of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday in Lagos.
The OPTS is a sub group of LCCI, which is the umbrella association of oil and gas companies who have come together to promote their common interests.
Osinbajo, who spoke on the topic: `Nigeria Transitioning to Green Energy,’ said that most hostile impacts of climate change on the continent were triggered by activities of wealthier nations.
The vice president said that most countries including Nigeria agreed that there was need to reduce global emissions to zero in Nigeria’s case by 2060. “ We are major victims of the effects of climate change, but there are a few important issues that we have flagged to our wealthier brother-countries in the global north.
“The first is that we, in the developing world are faced with two, not one crisis; one is climate change and the other is extreme poverty, the cause and consequence of which is energy poverty.
“Or the fact that lack of access to electricity for millions is a cause of deepening poverty.
“The second is that African countries are the least emitters of carbon today – less than one per cent of cumulative CO2 emissions and even if we triple electricity consumption in African countries (aside from South Africa) solely through the use of natural gas this would add just 0.6 per cent to global emissions.
“So, a lot of the flooding and adverse weather events that we are experiencing here are from emissions caused by the wealthier countries.
’’ The vice president said thirdly, the defunding of gas projects to force gas rich countries like Nigeria to stop using gas and use renewables instead was faulty.
According to him, the proposals to ban the funding of fossil fuel projects make no distinction between upstream oil and coal exploration and gas power plants for grid balancing.
He said that no economy in the world had been known to use renewables solely to industrialise as solar power simply did not have the base load capacity yet for industry.
“Fourthly, stopping the use of gas means that we cannot use Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG) for clean cooking stoves to replace the use of kerosene, firewood and charcoal which are dirtier fuels that are widely used for cooking and other domestic purposes, particularly in the rural areas.
“ The use of firewood means cutting down trees and of course desertification and then the loss of our carbon sinks.
`The fifth is the double standards that wealthier countries have adopted on this issue.
“Today in the wake of the energy crisis, many European nations have made recent announcements to increase or extend their use of coal fired power generation through 2023, and potentially beyond.
“ This is in violation of their climate commitments, and analysis suggests that this will raise power sector emissions of the EU by 4 per cent — a significant amount given the high base denominator of EU emissions.
’’ Osinbajo said that the sixth and perhaps most crucial point was that Nigeria must take quick and informed actions in its national interest.
He said that the country must take the threat of no investments in fossil fuels including gas seriously.
“For an example, many European and other global North countries are setting aggressive targets for use of electric vehicles and the banning of combustion engine vehicles.
“ Soon there may be only a few countries using combustion engines; it is also evident that while the Russia- Ukrainian war has shown the hypocrisy in not allowing public funding for fossil fuel projects, the wealthier nations are still of the view that this is the correct policy and that even if public funding is to be allowed financing should not go beyond 2035. “So far our response has been the Energy Transition Plan–a comprehensive, data-driven and evidence-based plan, designed to deal with the twin crises of climate change and energy poverty.
“ We anchored the plan on key objectives, including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job loss in the oil sector due to global decarbonisation,’’ he said.
He said that the plan recognised the role natural gas must play in the short term to facilitate the establishment of base load energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.
The vice president urged the private sector to step up its participation in the transition to green energy journey.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Dr Micheal-Olawale-Cole, the President, LCCI, said The OPTS was one of the outstanding members of the LCCI.
Represented by LCCI’s Vice President, Mr Gabriel Idohosa, Olawale-Cole said that OPTS had grown into an elite in the industry.
He said that LCCI was happy to lead OPTS’s for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and then for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act. The LCCI boss also submitted that fuel subsidy should be removed as it was not sustainable.
The highlight of the event was the handing over of plaques to former chairmen of OPTS by the vice president.
Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential flagbearer, said if elected in 2023, his government would overhaul the country’s security architecture and revive trust between government and the people to set a new economic order.
Obi said this at the 2023 Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Private Sector Economic Forum on the 2023 Presidential Election on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, any government that takes over in 2023 will be confronted by daunting challenges; both domestic and external which have degenerated over the years due to leadership failure.
These challenges, Obi said, had impacted negatively on the country’s unity, social cohesion, trust in government, wealth, education, employment, health, commerce and other indices.
The LP presidential flagbearer stressed that the country was not bereft of good ideas and plans, but that institutional weakness and lack of political will to implement them had limited it’s economic potential.
Obi said aside overhauling the entire security architecture, his government would ensure multilevel policing at federal, state and community levels, and equip them properly with modern gadgets to free the economy from the woes of insecurity.
He stated that upon becoming president, his government would streamline governance to ensure that it was responsive, transparent and effective; ensure institutional reforms and engender inclusive, participation of all groups.
Obi said the country must hold his government accountable in terms of visible, measurable changes on security, manufacturing for exports, and the use and adherence to the rule of law to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy.
“Good governance must be aimed at providing good service and receiving constructive criticism and moving forward with the goal of bringing back the trust of people to governance.
“Under my watch, all groups such as the youth, women, disabled, vulnerable, private sector, must be represented in my government’s decision making process seeing that I am committed to providing a demand driven leadership.
“As a trader, I am one of you and sincerely recognise your challenges and pain, and would provide my own solutions to the questions that have been raised, particularly, security which is impacting on all other economic problems.
“We have identified and prioritised seven critical areas in line with some Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to ensure purposeful leadership as we secure and unite Nigeria with effective legal and institutional reforms,” he said.
Obi stressed that to address the country’s revenue and other economic crisis, his administration would invest in manufacturing to move the country from consumption to production and exportation.
He said his government would also create an asset register and ensure that the country’s assets became more productive under genuine private sector watch.
He stated that apart from tackling insecurity, the issue of power generation must be addressed head-on by liberalising transmission and supporting the existing power generating companies.
These, Obi said, would ensure that the power sector was properly aligned with clear policies and the regulatory environment.
“To address power, first thing is to provide funding access, tax incentives and address issue of embedded power and renewable energy.
“I am not saying that I am going to be a superman but I am going to bring the political will to follow the rule of law, to deal with issues of oil theft, and address leakages in government revenue to address the funding of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“I am offering the ability to do the right thing and ensure that it is done going forward from 2023. “Nigeria’s problems though daunting and difficult are solvable and my appeal is that 2023, election would not be based on ethnicity but on competence and accountability,” he said.
LCCI President, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, said the overshadowing effect of politics over economics made the chamber set up the event as its contribution to a new economic order that could take the Nigerian economy from the doldrums.
He noted that patriotic Nigerians would like to know the plans and intentions of a future president, and this would most likely enhance the choices people make at the polls.
“Nigerians have another opportunity to decide who leads them in the next four years from 2023-2027. “The Nigerian economy has been inundated with a myriad of problems among which are oil theft, an unsustainable subsidy regime, insecurity, and a foreign exchange crisis.
“However, in spite of all these challenges, the prospects and future remain bright for the nigerian economy with the country as the largest economy on the continent with an output in the region of almost half a trillion dollars in nominal times,” he said.
The LCCI President tasked the Federal Government to pay special attention to the education sector, by providing long lasting solutions to the issue of industrial disputes in the country.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar played a major role in pushing millions of Nigerians into the unemployment market and into poverty as Vice President between 1999 and 2007. This, according to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), is contrary to the impression Atiku sold in his presentation at the recent Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Presidential Economic Agenda Forum.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that the former Vice President and his party were largely responsible for the mess the All Progressives Congress APC-led administration had been cleaning in the last seven years.
“It was meant to be an economic forum for the Peoples Democratic Party’s flag bearer to give the Organized Private Sector (OPS) an insight into what he has to offer, but he preferred to use it as an opportunity to again demonize President Buhari and his administration.
“So, not surprising, Atiku went ahead to limit all the problems in the country to the tenure of the incumbent government which he claimed was responsible for massive and regrettable level of unemployment.
“But what he deliberately left out is the fact that Nigeria’s unemployment figure in the PDP era was 112million out of a population of 160m, inspite of a higher oil revenue for a sustainable period with no global pandemic or a war with grave worldwide economic implication.
“It is public knowledge the former Vice President laid the groundwork for that high number of unemployed people as the man who presided over the much abused privatisation programme that led to massive job cuts with no fall back plans for those pushed into the labour market.
“We find it funny that same man is pledging funding for small businesses when the administration he served and the party were more interested in protecting the interest of the political elite for 16 years rather than providing a social safety net for the poor and vulnerable.
“The PDP candidate also made it look like Nigeria began running a budget deficit under Buhari, when publicly available information showed that it started in 2011 when the country actually had an oil boom but with little effort at economic diversification.
“It was also a period that the country’s infrastructure deficit began to rise menacingly with successive PDP administrations doing little or nothing to bridge the gap that Atiku is now pledging to commit 20billion dollars to, with private sector support,” the group said.
BMO added that it was interesting to see the former Vice President promising things that the Buhari administration has already put in place in a different way.
“The APC-led Buhari administration has already put in place several Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives in infrastructure on the back of Executive Order 7 which a number of key private sector players have already embraced to reconstruct some roads in exchange for tax credit across the six geo-political zones.
“This is aside from the National Council on Infrastructure that has already been set up to encourage private sector involvement in infrastructure development and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) which is already up and running.
“So what the perennial presidential candidate is doing amounts to seeking to ‘giraffing’ or spying; nothing more, in proposing OPS involvement in infrastructure development.
“But what we, like many Nigerians, find laughable is Atiku’s plan to propose a legislation to remove electricity from the exclusive list even when it has been in the news for at least three months, that President Buhari and the National Assembly have began a process of decentralizing the power sector.
“So we agree with those who say that the former Vice President had stayed too long in Dubai that he has lost track of what is happening in the country.
” The group said that the former Vice-President simply showed in his LCCI presentation that he has nothing to offer Nigeria and Nigerians.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said economic prosperity, through partnership with the private sector was top on his soon to be unveiled five-point agenda.
Abubakar said this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Private Sector Economic Forum on the 2023 Presidential Election on Tuesday in Lagos.
He said the agenda, if voted as president, would foster economic prosperity, restore the country’s unity, strengthen national security, improve education delivery and restructure the polity.
He stated that collaboration with the private sector was desirable because of its critical role in Nigeria’s development, as indicated by its 78.9 per cent contribution to national consumption expenditure.
Similarly, Abubakar noted that about 85 per cent of the investments in the Medium Term National Development Plan 2021-2025 was envisaged to be private sector funded.
He stressed that the country could not overcome its economic challenges without significant reforms to restructure the economy and to support the private sector to unleash its growth potential.
“According to the Nigeria Infrastructure Master Plan, Nigeria has an infrastructure financing deficit of approximately 3 trillion dollars over the next 30 years.
“This means a financing requirement of approximately 100 billion dollars per annum, which cannot be met by the public sector.
“For these and many other reasons, a warm handshake with the private sector is inevitable for any economic policy or programme to succeed.
“Indeed, private sector leadership in driving growth is the first of three key principles of my economic growth and development agenda, as encapsulated in my covenant with Nigerians.
“We would listen to the private sector more and secure their buy-in when policies are designed to determine the success of our economic growth and development agenda,” he said.
The PDP presidential candidate stressed that creating economic opportunities for Nigeria would represent significant implications for social cohesion and national security.
He said increased jobs and income opportunities would reduce the likelihood of the Nigerian youth being involved in crime, violence and conflicts motivated by manipulating religious or ethic differences.
Abubakar stated that his emergence was critical given the current state of the country’s economy, which he described as crawling, characterised by unemployment, poverty, policy uncertainties and lack of investors’ confidence.
He said his economic growth and development agenda would stimulate growth and birth an economy that was modern, dynamic, competitive and capable of taking its rightful place among the top 20 economies of the world.
“Nigeria has the potential to double its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030 and achieve a per capita income of approximately 5,000 dollars.
“We anticipate growth from our policies that seek to revitalise the real sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
“Rebuilding infrastructure and reducing infrastructure deficit would enhance the carrying capacity of the economy and unleash growth and wealth creation.
“We will elevate production for export to a top policy and long term investment priority and promote export of manufactured goods.
“I have always nurtured a desire to create abundant opportunities for people and enhance the capability to explore those opportunities so that they can live a happy, healthy and productive life as I feel fulfilled when I create prosperity for others,” he said.
Abubakar unveiled plans to restore investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy to take risks and invest capital by providing more clarity, coherence and consistency in the polity.
He stated that the monetary and fiscal authorities would be better coordinated to ensure a stable macroeconomic environment with low inflation, stable exchange and interest rates.
“We will allow the Central Bank of Nigeria the independence to pursue its mandate but ensure that such policies are not detrimental to Nigeria’s quest for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to Nigeria’s long term growth.
“I will break the jinx in infrastructure financing, lead Nigeria out of darkness, be more strategic and circumspect on debt accumulation, and undertake far reaching reforms to engender efficiency and reduce administrative costs,” he said.
The Former Vice President, however, stressed that the enormity of the tasks ahead must not be downplayed, seeing the daunting challenge of restoring confidence in the future of Nigeria as a more dynamic economy and stable democracy.
The LCCI President, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, stated that while the chamber was non-partisan, it was, however, interested in the economic agenda of the candidates and their plans to make a better Nigeria in the next dispensation.
This, he said, was in view of the chamber’s awareness of the over-shadowing effect of politics over managing the nigerian economy and would, therefore, wish to contribute to the setting of a new order that could take the economy out of the doldrums.
He noted that beyond economic management, the chamber understood that countries would naturally rise or fall through leadership and governance and Nigerians had another opportunity to decide who would lead them from 2023-2027. “For the past 16 years; the LCCI has organised this session in every election cycle as part of its public policy advocacy to provide a first-hand opportunity for presidential candidates of the leading political parties to speak to the organised private sector on their economic blueprint for nigeria.
“All patriotic nigerians would like to know the plans and intentions of a future president, and this will most likely enhance the choices people make at the polls.
“New policy directions, institutional reforms, and sound governance are critical to creating a new economic order in nigeria.
This is why we are gathered here today,” he said.
Nigeria’s digital economy has continued to play a very critical role in building resilience against disruptions from risks, pandemics, and natural disasters.
Dr. Olawale Cole, the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), said this at the eight edition of the yearly Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) EXPO on Wednesday in Lagos.
The theme of the EXPO is: “Ensuring Efficient Digital Infrastructure in Nigeria”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EXPO was organised by the Trade Promotion Board of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Cole said that the EXPO created a platform for key players and stakeholders in the Nigerian ICTEL industry to share perspectives on emerging issues and trends in the digital economy.
According to him, the theme suggests that this year, the ICTEL EXPO will not end at the close of the event tomorrow.
”We are determined this year to follow the theme through and ensure follow up initiatives that would make the communiqué from our robust interaction at this event a working manual for relevant stakeholders,” Cole said.
The president said that by means of innovation, the ICT sector or the digital economy powers many sectors today, driving competitiveness, cost-efficiency, and resilience in supply chains.
He said that innovative disruptions are emerging in agric-tech, health-tech, edu-tech, and e-government among others.
Cole said that the digital economy had become more relevant in many spheres of our lives.
“With sound regulations, policies and governance, the digital economy can create new possibilities and economic opportunities for businesses and investors.
“Governments and organisations must leverage technology for innovation, competitiveness, and resilience in the face of risks and uncertainties.
“As an advocacy pressure group and a lead promoter of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we appreciate the significance of this sector to business growth and sustainability.
“And we are ready to lend necessary support to the actualisation of the goals set out by the government to build and sustain a robust and supportive digital economy.
“We have assembled together eminent speakers whom we are confident will do justice to various issues as they reflect on the theme of this great event and the expectations of all of us,” Cole said.
According to him, the digital economy is evolving and impacting more areas of life and business because of its multifaceted and dynamic nature and due to the transformational power of digital technologies.
He said that the digital economy or the internet economy enables and supports various businesses, social and government activities through electronic commerce, lifestyle apps, and e-government platforms, respectively.
He said that the digital economy was considered the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness, and growth.
“The digital economy has continued to play a very critical role in building resilience against disruptions from risks, pandemics, and natural disasters.
“The ICT sector, for instance, remains one of the most resilient sectors that thrive even in economic recessions and disruptions,” Cole said.
He said that the Federal Government had announced a target of 40 billion dollars private capital investment in digital infrastructure by 2025, besides facilitating about one billion dollars in private equity.
“And just last week, the Federal Government inaugurated the National Council on Infrastructure, with a plan of doubling Nigeria’s infrastructure stock of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the prevailing 35 per cent to about 70 per cent,” Cole said.
The president of the chamber said that the issue had always not been with good initiatives, but in their implementation.
“That remains a big concern to us as a Chamber, hence the desire to make a difference with the 2022 ICTEL EXPO,” Cole said.
He said that data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the ICT sector in the second quarter of 2022 recorded a growth rate of 6.55 per cent in real terms, year-on-year.
He said that the figure was higher by 0.99 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2021. “Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of 13.41 per cent in real terms.
“Of total real GDP, the sector contributed 18.44 per cent in Q2 of 2022, higher than in the same quarter of the previous year.
“In which it represented 17.92 per cent and higher than the preceding quarter in which it represented 16.20 per cent.
“The non-oil sector was driven in the second quarter of 2022 mainly by Information and Communication (Telecommunication); Trade; Financial and Insurance (Financial Institutions) among others,” Cole said.
He expressed gratitude to sponsors, partners and speakers for identifying with the chamber at the 2022 ICTEL EXPO.
Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders on Wednesday called for the scaling up of Nigeria’s digital infrastructure.
Elumelu, represented by Mr Peter Ashade, Group Chief Executive Officer, United Capital Plc, gave the advice at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the expo, which is in its 8th year, had as its theme: “Ensuring Efficient Digital Infrastructure in Nigeria.
” Elumelu said the growth of the country’s Fintech indicated the need to rapidly scale up the digital infrastructure, seeing that in 2021, Nigeria’s Fintech startups raised about 730 million dollars in investments.
He, however, noted that the country’s internet base was barely half of its population at the start of 2022 with 51 per cent internet penetration, 44 per cent broadband penetration and 54 per cent 3G coverage.
He said the deployment of the 5G network spectrum in rural areas was currently low and presented huge opportunities for the private sector to drive economic growth in the informal sector, which dominated rural activities.
He stressed that private participation was needed to spur the adoption and use of broadband.
“There must be preferential taxation for providers who agree on specific universal access targets.
“There’s also the need to review spectrum policies, provide more license spectrums and focus more on transparency initiative to reduce uncertainty around long-term investments for private investors.
“Heirs holdings is uniquely positioned to work with ICT industry stakeholders on specialised financing for ICT infrastructure projects, amongst others, seeing that digital infrastructure is the growth catalyst for modern economies,” he said.
Prof. Mohammad Abubakar, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Ltd., (GBB), said public-private partnership (PPP) was essential to providing efficient digital infrastructure in accelerating digital transformation, through collaborations and effective communication across borders.
Abubakar was represented by Mr Dauda Oyeleye, Group Head, Business Development, GBB.
He said to further solidify GBB the company created an Enterprise Business Group (EBG) tasked with the sole responsibility of managing private customers as well as structured partnerships.
He stated that GBB had a pervasive fibre connectivity network across the nation, which the private sector could key into.
“We have established partnerships with managed service providers, real estate developers, as well as other local organisations to reach the goal of attaining a digital Nigeria.
“Our state-of-the-art infrastructure has been instrumental in sealing these deals and the partnerships just keep getting better.
“GBB has taken steps to secure public confidence in the use of its digital infrastructure, through trusted international third-party attestations and would continue to redefine collaboration within and outside the country,” he said.
Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, said the theme was in view of the fact that the Federal Government had announced a target of 40 billion dollars private capital investment in digital infrastructure by 2025, beside facilitating about 1 billion dollars in private equity.
He added that government recently inaugurated the National Council on Infrastructure, with a plan to double Nigeria’s infrastructure stock of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the prevailing 35 per cent to about 70 per cent.
The LCCI president said the 2022 ICTEL EXPO would give deserved focus to digital infrastructure because, over the decades, next to corruption, poor infrastructure was Nigeria’s greatest socio-economic development challenge.
“The ones commonly focused on are power, roads, water but we dare say, however, that as critical as the listed ones and indeed others not listed are, if Nigeria gets digital infrastructure right, the benefits to the nation’s ICT sector and on government’s digital economy agenda would be enormous.
“The 2022 ICTEL EXPO will also create a platform for all stakeholders to engage in robust discussions on government’s plans to grow the digital economy from 10.68 per cent to 12.54 per cent and improve e-governance by 100 per cent by 2025,” he said.
An Organised Private Sector ((OPS) stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to address crude oil theft and other macroeconomic fundamentals to navigate the Nigerian economy to the path of growth.
They gave the advice at the third quarter council meeting of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, said the event was crucial to review major economic developments and communicate the chambers’ position to the wider business community and the government for a thriving private sector.
The LCCI president said the menace of oil theft had become a national disaster and a critical threat to the nation’s revenue base.
According to him, Nigeria is losing crude oil at the level of about 91 per cent of output, as the country lost 3.2 billion dollars in crude oil theft between January 2021 and February 2022. “The twins 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.
Olawale-Cole said that the country’s total public debt stock rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion (about $100.07 billion) by the end of the second quarter of 2022, as revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO).
He added that Nigeria’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio currently stood at 23.27 per cent against 22.43 per cent on Dec. 31, 2021. The LCCI president said the development had already resulted in concerns that most, if not all, of the assumptions in the Medium-Term Expenditure framework (MTEF) 2023-2025 would be missed.
This, he explained, was as the country continued to experience unprecedented levels of disruptions to supply chains and agricultural production.
“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,” he said.
Olawale-Cole also urged monetary authorities to liberalise the foreign exchange market by unifying the multiple rates and ensure that rates were market-driven to enhance stability, liquidity and transparency in the foreign exchange market.
“The unification is expected to improve our currency management framework, given that the multiple exchange rate systems have continued to create uncertainties and sources of arbitrage,” he said.
The LCCI president also appealed to the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to come to an agreement as soon as possible to end the ongoing industrial action.
“We cannot look to half-baked graduates to build a prosperous economy.
“Nigeria must begin to pay more attention to improving its latest Human Development Index (HDI) which stood at 161 out of 189 countries,” he said.
Olawale-Cole expressed concern about the worsening insecurity profile of the country, saying that it posed an apparent threat to the forthcoming general elections in 2023 and, by extension, a threat to democratic governance.
He said that in the absence of peace and security, it would be challenging to hold credible, free and fair elections that would reflect the choices of the electorate in choosing those that should lead them.
“We need to address the root causes of youths unemployment, drug abuse, uncontrolled small arms and unmanned borders through which foreigners infiltrate our territories.
“We also need to boost security enforcement through frequent recruitments into the security agencies and well supported with modern weaponry and deployment of warfare technology.
“Community policing and intelligence gathering need to be officially endorsed and systematically managed,” he said.
In his remarks, Ude Udeagbala, President, NACCIMA, lauded the Lagos State Government for its efforts in supporting the private sector and accommodating its needs under the THEMES agenda.
Udeagbala urged members of the private sector to engage politicians and political parties in discourse to know their plans for the private sector, as the electioneering year approached.
“This would further help convey our plights to the incoming governments,” he said.
The Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, said the state would continue to leverage recommendations from the private sector to discern challenges affecting it.
Jaji, represented by Mrs Olabisi Shonibare, Director, Political Affairs, charged the sector to engage best practices in trade, investments and commerce to solidify the state as the best investment destination.
“On our parts, we would continue to promote more friendly environment for enterprises and provide workable solution to all the challenges,” she said.