By Rukayat Moisemhe
Many, with the trend of appointments, especially in the private sector in Nigeria, see women as shattering glass ceilings in their numbers.
For the past two years, Ms. Toki Mabogunje and Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu have served as Chairmen of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Industry, respectively. agriculture (NACCIMA).
More recently, women such as Dr Ije Jidenma, Dame Adebola Williams, Dr Chinyere Almona and Ms Bisi Adeyemi have stepped forward to fill delicious, sensitive and economically important positions in their respective institutions.
Jidenma is the newly elected president of the Institute of Directors (IoD); Williams, President, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC); Adeyemi, President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC); while Almona is the new Executive Director of LCCI.
This rise of women, many see it as a positive development, and seek more, especially in the political space. with the will to achieve the assertion of 35 percent included in the Beijing action plan.
Beijing's popular declaration for the political empowerment of women in 1995 to the tune of 35 percent demands governments, international organizations and civil society groups to take a series of measures to strengthen the political empowerment of women .
in Nigeria, the National Gender Policy (NGP) recommends positive action of 35 percent and aims for a more inclusive representation of women in elective and nominative political positions in the public service.
Globally, women constitute more than half of the world's population and are vital contributors to the development of society at large, assuming key roles as mothers, producers, housewives, community organizers, as well as socio-cultural activists. and policies.
Despite the numbers, however, some experts claim that the participation of women in Nigeria as board members, leaders of choice organizations and in the political space is still low.
This, they say, is thus in the context of the benchmark requirement of Beijing's assertion.
Mabogunje believes that although women have come to excel in all fields, as scientists, politicians, business leaders, professionals, technocrats, among others, progress in Nigeria is slow, especially in space. Politics.
Politically, women in the Ninth Assembly represent seven of the 109 members of the Senate and 13 of the 360 of the Federal House of Representatives.
She said that a greater place should be given to women, with appointments to elective and nominative positions, to ensure the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, the sustainable development goal on gender equality. and Nigeria's national gender policy and framework.
Mabogunje noted that Nigerian women have proven to be more than capable, skilled and experienced to fill the available positions, and demonstrate their expertise and resourcefulness should the opportunity arise.
She recalled the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2012 which required that each bank operating in the country publish the gender positions of its workforce in its annual reports starting at the end of 2013.
This, said the president of the LCCI, demonstrated that the recent rise of women at the head of financial institutions in Nigeria was not accidental.
“Nine years ago, policies were put in place in financial institutions that enabled competent, experienced and well-qualified women to access these positions.
“So the institutions where you see women moving into leadership positions are institutions that are imbued with a culture of inclusion.
“As a result, these institutions experience better bottom lines, market competitiveness and strategic corporate leadership.
“Other business entities and organizations that are watching the successes of these institutions are slowly convinced to open up the leadership space for women,” she said.
Mabogunje tasked women to keep pace with today's knowledge-based economy of intellectual capital, change (uncertainty and risk) and globalization that rules the world.
“Young women need to understand that it is very important for them to be competent and knowledgeable about the work they are doing.
“Everyone faces challenges in career, politics and business, especially as you move up the corporate ladder.
“It turns out that it's still a man's world; as we continue to fight for gender equality, women need to know that they will probably have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts for the same promotion, ”she said.
Ms. Chinonso Okechukwu, focal person of the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF), said that the participation of women in Nigerian politics and their representation in decision-making offices is important.
Okechukwu said, however, that politically, women had taken a back seat, despite efforts by non-governmental organizations following the Beijing declaration.
She noted that Nigerian women were still marginalized due to the leadership style inherent in the country, with huge underlying structural challenges.
The gender equality activist said the under-representation of women in political participation took root due to the patriarchal practice inherent in society, much of which was evident from the pre-colonial era until this day.
She, however, said the reintroduction of democratic governance had seen an increase in women's political participation in both elective and nominative positions in Nigeria, albeit with minimal representation.
Okechukwu advised political parties to create a support network for potential candidates by pairing them with established female politicians.
These politicians, she said, would act as mentors and build the capacities of young or aspiring women, in order to develop them before the next election.
“Despite the challenges women face, women's activism and advocacy, the education of women, the positivity of successive governments towards the empowerment of women and the interest of women in participating in politics are receiving a lot of attention. positive energy.
"It is an indication that the participation of women in politics has a bright future," she said.
Adeyemi, the newly-elected president of the NBCC, believes women should do their best because they can do beyond breaking the proverbial limiting glass ceiling.
“For me, successful leadership in general, whether you are a man or a woman, involves empowering yourself and doing what you are given to do to the best of your ability, not because you are a woman, but because you are a person of excellence, ”she said. (NANFeatures)
By Rukayat Moisemhe
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) officially entered into force on January 1, 2021 to deepen economic integration on the continent.
This followed Africa's low volume of intra-regional trade compared to other continents such as America, Europe and Asia.
The agreement also aims to eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods while allowing micro, small, medium and large enterprises to enter new markets and establish strong cross-border supply chains with trading partners on the market. continent.
Recent reports from the World Bank indicate that the deal would increase regional income by seven percent, raise women's wages and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.
The AfCFTA National Action Committee in the first quarter of the year launched an awareness campaign to enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of the trade deal and the need for full participation.
Six months after the launch of AfCFTA, however, some believe that many Nigerian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can do better with better knowledge of its intricacies and technical know-how, to maximize its benefits. .
MSMEs, relevant for the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) as well as for job creation, are considered to be the main engines of development of any economy, as they constitute the bulk of business activities.
The various interventions by the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), such as reducing interest rates on CBN facilities from nine percent to five percent, and the creation of a An intervention of N50 billion for households and MSMEs is notable.
Others include the creation of a 1.1 trillion naira intervention fund for the manufacturing sector (including drugs sub-sector) and the temporary and time-limited restructuring of loan terms and conditions. for businesses affected by the pandemic.
The need to reposition MSMEs with context-specific awareness and education mechanisms, however, cannot be overstated.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) noted the nationwide awareness by the Federal Government Action Committee on the AfCFTA.
He said, however, that there was still a lot of work to be done to create the desired level of awareness.
This, he says, is due to the size of the country and the investor population.
Yusuf said there was a need to better target desired outcomes, with a focus on international trade and the investment community.
He said the percentage of MSMEs engaging in international trade was perhaps less than 10 percent.
“The truth is that most MSMEs are domestically oriented and most exporters are not necessarily producers.
“The language in which the AFCFTA message is disseminated should be accessible, in particular to MSMEs thanks to the simplification of terms and terminologies.
“There is also a need to ensure a balance in the use of traditional media platforms and digital platforms.
“The government needs to devote more resources to the AFCFTA awareness campaign,” he said.
Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Managing Director of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), however, said more than 50 percent of manufacturers, most of whom were MSMEs, were aware of how the deal worked.
This, he said, because the association, for nearly two years, had engaged members on the subject through consultations, zonal awareness workshops, sectoral meetings and webinar series.
He said there had been high-level interactions with the upper echelons of the AfCFTA Secretariat, the African Union, the African Export and Import Bank and other ministries, departments and agencies. nationals concerned.
These, he said, have highlighted the need for a number of steps member companies need to take to get the most out of the deal.
He cited the need to start accelerating export diversification by targeting products that are in high demand on the continent but which mainly come from outside as one of those steps.
The MAN DG also called for the realignment of production processes with the rules of origin agreed for the product lines, to ensure qualification for the preferential tariff that the AfCFTA seeks to build.
Ajayi-Kadir stressed the need to continue to develop capacities for understanding AfCFTA rules of origin and trade redress mechanisms and skills needed to participate effectively in the continental value chain.
"We must also start to embark on capacity building on export trade logistics and shipping modalities amid the huge infrastructure deficit that prevails on the continent, and adopt an entry strategy. in the market that best suits their products, paying adequate attention to the culture of the people in the target market.
“We need to improve product packaging to generate increased market penetration, with MSMEs providing quality assurance before products are shipped to the final destination.
“Although the price competitiveness of Nigerian manufactures remains a challenge, stakeholders in the MSME group need to adopt the best pricing strategies by ensuring the efficiency of their production and logistics processes.
“There is also a need to build capacity in the area of paperwork, as there is a tendency for a transaction to fail and ultimately losses when documentation is faulty, hence the need documentation before and after export.
"Appropriate familiarization with payment systems such as letter of credit, invoice to be collected, account opening and prepayment is also required as it will be necessary to seek funds to pay local suppliers and obtain payment. from the buyer after shipment, ”he said.
Mr. Eke Ubiji, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), for his part, underscored the need to include MSME stakeholders in government information and awareness advocacy, in order to to engender grassroots participation.
Ubiji urged the governments of countries that had already ratified the agreement to set up an intra-African rail transport system to comprehensively address the transport infrastructure gaps acting as a trade barrier for MSMEs.
He also recommended the use of non-formal and very simplified means of transmitting information to actors in the MSME space.
“It is incumbent on the government and the organizations concerned to have a way to convey this relevant information to the players, even at the grassroots.
“Countries also need to comprehensively address basic infrastructure, especially transport, by creating an intra-African rail network system, just as Kenya built in Uganda.
“As it is, we are landlocked and cannot move anywhere.
“Many MSMEs may not be able to fly their products, but with a connecting rail system to connect all of Africa to each other, trade barriers would be removed.
“If we can develop the continent economically, the rush to relocate to all of these European countries would be greatly diminished,” he said.
Without a doubt, all hands must be on the bridge to ensure that MSMEs are well placed to make the most of the estimated market of 1.3 billion people and the economic benefits provided by AfCFTA. (NANFeatures)(NAN)
By Kemi Akintokun,The Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of the Lagos State Governor, has advised women to make proper menstrual hygiene management a priority and encourage others around them.Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the maiden World Menstrual Hygiene Day program organized by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) at the LCCI Conference and Exhibition Centre, Olowopopo, Lagos.The World Menstrual Hygiene Day is marked every May 28 to create awareness about menstrual health across the world.Sanwo-Olu was represented at the event by Mrs. Funmi Omotoso, wife of the Lagos State Commissioner for Information.The program has its theme: “It’s Time For Action.”“We are gathered here today to commemorate this day as an event meant to upgrade and change the outlook of feminine personal hygiene, during the monthly menstrual period.“This initiative will certainly help to break the culture of silence on the taboo that surrounds this important phase.“Even as it builds awareness on the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management plays in the general well-being of our girls and women.“I, therefore, seize this opportunity to urge our women to make proper menstrual hygiene management a priority,” she said.Sanwo-Olu commended the ministry for the initiative, noting that it was very thoughtful and insightful in helping to educate women.“Let me reiterate that poor menstrual hygiene is a perfect environment for the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria and yeasts.“Some of these could lead to fungal or bacterial infections of the reproductive tract, urinary tract, the irritation of the skin as well as being a cause of discomfort and prognosis for dermatitis.“This forum will help to educate and alleviate encounters on feminine menstrual hygiene.“It is indeed time for action toward playing up the issues around the woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, she added.Mrs. Bolaji Dada, the Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), said the program was organized as an advocacy platform.According to her, the platform is to bring together the voices and actions of both government and non-governmental organizations to promote good menstrual hygiene.Dada said: “As we all know, WAPA is saddled with the responsibility of protecting women and creating awareness on issues that affect them.“The Lagos State Government join in the global celebration of the day to enumerate on the importance of hygiene management during menstruation.“At this juncture, we want to implore women within this noble state, to scale up on their personal hygiene.”Even as they take cognizance of those times they have unusual flow during their menstruation, which could be an indication to seek for further medical help”.Dada said statistics had shown that menstrual hygiene management requires the use of products to contain the flow and offer a conducive experience devoid of embarrassment.“Menstruation from time immemorial sets the pace for reproduction between ages 12 to 52 years and it is a landmark which identifies us as women.“In low-income countries, Nigeria inclusive, the choice of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by costs, availability, social and traditional norms.” Creating interactive avenues as this, where women can discuss issues relating to good menstrual hygiene management, will add value to curbing the use of unsafe materials that trigger gynecological ailment,” she said.Free sanitary pads were given to the women and secondary school students at the event.
By Rukayat MoisemheThe Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said that the 2021 first quarter 0.40 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase, though a pleasant surprise, is not reflective of the manufacturing sector current realities.Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, LCCI, said this in reaction to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) GDP Q1 2021 report on Sunday, in Lagos.According to the report, the nation’s GDP rose from 0.11 per cent in fourth quarter of 2020 to 0.51 per cent in first quarter of 2021, translating to a 0.40 per cent increase.Yusuf said the recovery of the manufacturing sector from a negative growth territory in Q4 2020 to a positive growth level of 3.4 per cent in Q1 2021 was a pleasant surprise.He noted that the sector had been grappling with an unprecedented foreign exchange illiquidity crisis over the past few months.The LCCI Director-General said that structural, irregular policies, institutional and macroeconomic challenges had also bedevilled the sector.As a result, the LCCI DG stressed that the NBS data did not reflect the reality of the experiences of most manufacturers.He, however, welcomed the expansion of 2. 28 per cent in the agricultural sector, 6.31 per cent of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and the 8.66 per cent of the electricity sector.Yusuf said that a lot of issues remained to be resolved in the electricity sector, with supply in many parts of the country still epileptic and the metering programme not keeping pace with demand.“Evidently, the economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the pandemic and related slip into recession.“However, the first quarter GDP data contained a few pleasant surprises.“The agricultural sector expanded by 2.28 per cent despite the ravaging effects of insecurity, farmers herders clashes and the displacement of many farming communities.“Most foreign exchange dependent manufacturing sectors have not had a good experience over the past one year.“Admittedly, segments of manufacturing with high levels of backward integration had lesser degrees of shocks from the forex illiquidity and exchange rate depreciation in the economy.“The growth of 6.31 per cent recorded in the ICT sector was expected given the opportunities created for ICT in the new normal.“The cost reflective tariff appears to have impacted positively on the electricity sector which recorded 8.66 per cent,” he said.Yusuf said the continued contraction of the trade sector which recorded a negative growth of 2.43 per cent in Q1 2021 and the transportation sector at 21.9 per cent was worrisome.He said that the hospitality and entertainment sectors which were still down needed more government attention..“We note with concern the continued contraction of the trade sector grappling with headwinds arising from exchange rate depreciation and forex illiquidity, high inflationary pressures, and weak purchasing power.“Yet the sector is one of the biggest sources of employment , especially in the self employment space.“It is equally worrisome that the transportation sector experienced the worst contraction at 21.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.“This may be as a result of the growing insecurity on our roads and this goes to demonstrate the multidimensional impact of insecurity on the economy.“The hospitality and entertainment sectors have been in recession for over a year and the government needs to do a lot more to salvage the sector from complete collapse,” he said. (NAN)(NAN)
By Rukayat Moisemhe
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised the federal government to address challenges that prevent the economy's supply from fighting inflation.
LCCI Director General Dr Muda Yusuf gave the advice Thursday in reaction to the March 18.17 percent inflation figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the inflation rate in March rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February, an increase of 0.82%.
Similarly, food inflation climbed to 22.95% from 21.79% recorded the previous month, an increase of 1.16%.
The rise in the food index was caused by rising prices for bread and cereals, potatoes, yams and other tubers, meat, vegetables, fish, oils and fats and fruits.
The CEO said the main drivers of rising inflation, which were mostly supply-side issues, included currency depreciation, acute foreign exchange market illiquidity, rising transportation costs and logistical challenges.
Others, he said, concerned disruptions to agricultural production caused by growing insecurity, rising energy prices, climate change and structural bottlenecks to production.
Yusuf said the solution should therefore be placed in the context of these causal factors.
“March's headline inflation of 18.17 percent is the highest in four years and most worrying is that food inflation has accelerated to 23 percent.
“The main problems are related to cost and production.
“It is not in all cases that high production and operating costs can be passed on to consumers.
“The implication is that producers are also affected, which is more serious when a product or service is faced with a high elasticity of demand.
“The fight against inflation requires urgent government intervention to address the challenges weighing on the economy's supply.
“There is also concern about the growing budget deficit, especially the deficit financing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“It is characterized as an inflation tax by a school of thought in the economic literature,” he said. (NOPE)(NAN)
By Rukayat Moisemhe
Dealers, especially retailers, blamed the N3,400 retail price of a bag of cement in Lagos on freight and other logistics costs accrued after the initial purchase.
They made this known in separate talks with the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
This is because the same amount of Dangote and Lafarge cement was considered to be sold at the retail price of N3,400 in an investigation by NAN in Lagos.
Mr. AbdulRasheed Babatunde, a cement retailer, attributed the development to the additional costs of logistics, transportation, store rental and labor after purchase.
Babatunde said he obtained a bag of cement from wholesalers at 3,100 naira.
“The situation is like when you go to the market to buy things to sell. As a trader, is it the same price that you bought the items in the market that you would sell them for?
“You have to take into account all your logistics to arrive at a price that would always be profitable for your business and at the same time, taking into account the plight of the masses.
“And honestly, I don't buy for N2 450 or anything like that because I don't go to the factory or factories to buy.
“It would mean I would sell even more because it means I'm traveling to get cement,” he said.
Another dealer, Ms Anuoluwapo Obafemi, said the gain on a bag of cement was less than N300 and the saving grace was that they mostly sold in bulk and thus made tangible profit.
“There are times when people buy 100 bags or up to 1,000 bags and so we make a profit that way, otherwise it would have affected a lot of things.
“The price of cement has risen steadily over the years, but we started buying at N3,100 this year and selling at N3,400 as a result,” she says.
Mr. Devakumar Edwin, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Investment Projects, Dangote, had said the price of a bag of cement from his factories and factories on April 12 was N 2,450 in Obajana and Gboko and 2510 N at Ibese, Nigeria.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said it was necessary to look at the main variables determining prices in order to draw appropriate conclusions.
“Price pressure could result from production or declining production, surging demand, monopoly practices, high transport and logistics costs, profits of distributors, wholesalers and retailers; currency depreciation, general inflationary pressures, among others.
“So it is important to explore these possibilities when we approach the phenomenon of price increases. Such ideas would define the solution that could be proposed.
“But price control or price fixing is not an option. Price controls create unnecessary upheaval in the economy, ”he said.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has stated that it is keen to ensure strong and fair competition in Nigeria for the benefit of consumers and to bring about fair prices for products.
Regarding events in other climates, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice President, FCCPC, noted that the global principle of business separation ensures that the regulator's default assumption is not to conclude that the the behavior of a multinational in one market was necessarily the same in another. .
He said, however, that there were exceptions to this principle, for example when an organization (or group) acts as a single economic entity (SEA) or where it is proven that even as a different companies, there was active coordination, supervision or collaboration with regarding the conduct involved.
“The Commission is aware of the results of the regulations in Zambia with regard to the cement industry.
“The Commission also understands the strong public interest in this matter, in particular because, and considering that the main players in the Zambian market are also players in the Nigerian market.
“The Commission, however, is careful to note that the results of regulation in other markets do not necessarily confirm the violation of the law in a different market.
“This is an important distinction to promote confidence in our market and in the clarity and stability of the regulatory framework and regime.
“That said, the Commission recognizes the context and complexities involved in this particular case, and how the body of evidence gathered by its Zambian counterpart can be useful and potentially indicative in an assessment and / or investigation of the structure and market conduct in Nigeria.
“To this extent, the Commission engages a diverse and multiple relevant stakeholders, including the Zambian authorities, to guide its course of action and / or any required intervention in the sector, as appropriate,” he said. (NOPE)(NAN)
Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), described the AfCFTA as an engine for Africa's recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said this would help restore the effects of the pandemic on the continent's industry growth and development agenda.
Mene made the claim during a courtesy visit to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Friday in Lagos.
He said the continent's ability to trade goods and services, including the airline industry, tourism and other components, was critical to its recovery.
Mene said Africa, before the start of the pandemic, was an important market with a growth rate of 3.4% per year, and the producer of six of the world's ten fastest growing economies.
“With COVID-19, we went from that to a contraction of a magnitude that we haven't had in about 30 years.
"But with the objectives of AfCFTA, by 2035, by tackling Africa's trade, Africa is on the path to industrial development and we are building a capacity to diversify our exports domestically and abroad. outside the continent, ”he said.
According to him, the projection of the International Monetary Fund is that by 2022 there will be a positive growth path of 2.1% for sub-Saharan Africa if we deploy the vaccines on time and implement the AfCFTA.
He said the AfCFTA is therefore the engine of Africa's recovery with all the essentials for that to happen.
The AfCFTA secretary general also addressed the obvious challenges related to rules of origin under the agreement.
Mene said the agreement contained rules that provided for discipline, product dumping, subsidized products and preferential safeguards, among others.
He called for concerted efforts by the private sector, the AfCFTA Secretariat and regulatory agencies to build the capacity of customs authorities in participating countries for the success of the agreement.
This, he said, would ensure the application of discipline and strengthen the capacity of customs services to effectively implement AfCFTA trade rules.
Mene praised the Nigerian government's efforts to set up its trade remedy authorities to deal with investigations, origin issues and punitive action if necessary.
“At the moment, only two countries - Egypt and South Africa - have their trade remedy authorities ready, which has the capacity to prevent dumping and address many other challenges associated with inter-African trade.
“Nigeria is at an advanced stage of setting up a trade resumption appeal authority and this is a very positive step,” he said.
In her remarks, Ms. Toki Mabogunje, President of LCCI, said that AfCFTA was largely a story of immense enthusiasm and expectation among the Nigerian business community due to the opportunities inherent.
Mabogunje said the AfCFTA would make the continent more integrated, united and prosperous, especially in light of the many benefits of a larger market.
However, she expressed concern about the challenges of competitiveness and the possible surge in imports that would result from the continental integration agreement.
“The Chamber believes that this is an opportunity for countries to increase their competitiveness by improving their investment climate.
“Ultimately, it would be in the interest of the economies of the continent and the well-being of our citizens,” she said.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Mene would be a special guest at the LCCI forum on the theme: “AfCFTA: Roadmap to Successful Implementation” scheduled for March 16.
Mr. Victor Liman, Acting Chief Negotiator / Director General, Nigeria Trade Negotiations Office, is also expected to attend. (NOPE)
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The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) says a collaborative interface with government’s regulatory agencies and entrepreneurs on regulatory processes will improve Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) operations.
Mr Soji Apampa, Co-founder, Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), spoke at the Public Private Dialogue/Survey Launch hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) on Thursday in Lagos.
Apampa said a survey was done on 501 businesses comprises 376, 76 and 49 for Lagos, Abia and Kano respectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Dialogue was entitled: ” Transactional Accountability, Process Consistency, and Operational Transparency of the National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC)”.
Apampa said the survey’s key findings revealed that 65 per cent of respondents experienced cost differentials in cost learnt and actual cost paid with 82 as percentile value for informal and non receipted payments.
He said that respondents listed reasons for non receipted payments to include ‘thank you’, fast track process, reduce liability, reduce sanctions, and for correct interpretation of regulations.
Apampa, however, revealed that 67 per cent of MSMEs responded satisfactorily to the services rendered by the agency.
He said: “57 per cent of MSMEs consider corruption in dealing with regulatory officials as major constraint to business effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness.
“MSMEs account for 96 per cent of businesses, generated 75 per cent of national employment and contributed 47 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
“Many companies believe that self regulation is the best, but you need strong motivating force, outcomes and benchmarks.
“On government’s part, regulatory bodies believe they should be doing the regulatory affairs.
“Stakeholders should have a role too, but it’s not enough; so, this calls for collaborative efforts by all parties to support MSME survival and growth,” he said.
Responding, Mrs Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, NAFDAC, urged entrepreneurs to take responsibility of all transactions by making it a policy to get receipts to eliminate bribes and other corruption practices.
Adeyeye, represented by Prof. Samson Adebayo, a Director with the agency, said the agency had abolished the use of consultants or agents inclusive of its staff to further reduce human interface and tackle corruption.
The NAFDAC director-general said reports of the survey detailed that the agency had cascaded goals into short, middle and long term goals to improve its operations and enhance ease of doing business for MSMEs.
“Staff reorientation is part of the short term goals and the idea is to ensure that every staff of the agency is reminded of the implications of every action.
“Management has also set up a task force charged with the possibility of carrying out their activities without interference of any staff.
“We also encourage the use of our online platform to carry out all transactions to reduce human interface and corrupt practices,” he said.
Also, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President LCCI, said that the task of strengthening NAFDAC’s regulatory activities was a collective responsibility.
This, Mabogunje said, was to champion courses that promote fairness, transparency, efficiency and equity in the operational framework of the regulatory agencies.
“We acknowledge the efforts by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in the implementation of business enabling initiatives such as the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and introduction of Executive Order 001.
“We are of firm belief that NAFDAC, as a regulatory agency that interacts with all categories of businesses in Nigeria, contributed significantly to the process leading to the aforementioned milestone.
“Under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC has carried out a lot of reforms of its processes. However, a lot of improvement are still required to better NAFDAC’s processes and operations.
“Everyone, including business membership organisations, chambers of commerce, trade associations, other private sector stakeholders, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), sub-nationals and Federal Government have significant roles to play.
“As key stakeholders, all hands must be on deck to have this course actualised,” he said.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
The Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Lola Akande, says there is need to support SMEs as failure to do so would lead to an exponential increase in poverty and insecurity.
The meeting which took place virtually had its theme as: “Positioning SMEs for Growth in the New Normal’’.
Akande, represented by Mrs Helen Adesina, Director of Commerce in the ministry, said: “The importance of MSMEs in any economy is impossible to overemphasised.
“They account for two-thirds of global employment and half of GDP.
“These businesses were already faced with challenges of cash flow, competition from larger companies, non-existent economies of scale in raw materials sourcing, marketing, sales and distribution, as well as a lack of relevant managerial skills and skilled employees.
“Failure to bolster these vulnerable SMEs with necessary tools to overcome this new normal will lead to loss of employment, a reduction in the spending power of the average citizen and ultimately, an exponential increase in poverty and insecurity.’’
The commissioner said that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and even the recent #EndSARS crisis, there had been decline of international business activities.
“Also, the downturn of state economies and the attrition of numerous MSME operated ventures.
“The outbreak has also resulted in the stalling of economic activities affecting trade, growth, investment and employment.
“Glaring illustration of these challenges are evident in the entertainment, events, hospitality and tourism industry,’’ she said.
Akande noted that the “New Normal’ of conducting business, social distancing and lockdown prescriptions also affected the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of physical market operations and other business related activities.
According to her, Lagos State, as the foremost economy of Nigeria with over 11,000 SMEs and 3,000,000 micro enterprises, has put measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“As such, the government of Lagos State has been proactive in ensuring that these ventures stay in business and continue to do so long after the pandemic.
“To this end, a number of existing schemes have been strengthened, modified and new measures taken by the Lagos State Government since the onset of the crisis.
“The 6th Corporate Assembly in February 2020, where Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu interacted with the business community to deliberate on how best to create a business friendly environment in the State.
“A review of laws with regards to the Land Use Charge, 3-year waiver on penalties for defaults in the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“Also a 25 per cent discount on early payment of the Land Use Charge amongst others which will be expatiated on by the Director on Entrepreneur in the Ministry of Wealth Creation & Employment,’’ she said.
Akande urged MSMEs to look inwards not just to survive but to also thrive in the ‘new normal’.
According to her, MSMEs should optimise resources, adapt to changes, move towards digitisation of their processes, embrace innovation and collaborate with one another.
Also, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President , LCCI, said that supporting SMEs is the most strategic approach toward reflating the nation’s economy.
She said that ideas on strategies that would help position small and medium business operators for sustainable growth in the new normal should be advanced.
She commended the interventions by the fiscal and monetary sides of authorities in cushioning the impact of the pandemic on the business community.
According to her, various schemes and programmes have been implemented at national and subnational levels to support the working capital requirements of small and medium business operators in a bid to rescue them from going bankrupt.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, LCCI, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in reaction to the October 2020 inflation rate.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the October inflation rate, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stood at 14.23 per cent, which is 0.52 per cent higher than the 13.71 per cent recorded in September.
NAN also reports that the October food sub index was at 17.38 per cent year on year from 16. 66 per cent in September.
According to the NBS, the highest increase was recorded in fats and oil, meat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruits, vegetables, alcoholic and food beverages.
Yusuf listed the variables impacting domestic prices to include transportation costs, logistics challenges and exchange rate depreciation.
Others, he said, are forex liquidity issues, Value Added Tax increase, climate change, insecurity in farming communities and structural bottlenecks to production.
According to the Director- General, any mitigation measures will have to be situated in the context of these variables.
Yusuf said that the potency of monetary policy instruments in tackling inflation was weak.
He projected that inflation was unlikely to abate till after the festivities due to demand side issues.
“To every inflation situation, there are demand and supply side issues, and from what I’m seeing, due to the large demand expected during the Yuletide, it is unlikely to abate.
“There are many variables impacting domestic prices as stated above, and any mitigation measures would have to be situated in the context of these variables.
“Even the CBN had admitted that the potency of monetary policy instruments in tackling inflation is weak.
“The CBN has in recent months focused on boosting growth to improve output and moderate inflation.
“With the imminent recession, this is perhaps an appropriate policy choice.
“For an economy seeking to quickly recover and create jobs, monetary policy tightening is not an option,” he said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle