LCCI bemoans worsening insecurity, says crisis inimical to private, public investment


…Says building capacity to create wealth and jobs should be prioritized

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has noted with serious concerns the worsening security situation in the country even as it also said that it is scary that banditry attacks, abduction, herders-farmers conflict, vandalism and insurgency have become recurring incidences in Nigeria.

Speaking in an address on the state of the nation’s economy, the President, LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje observed that the impact of this crisis on the Nigerian economy remained profound and multi-dimensional adding that the crisis had crippled lots of private and public investments across the nations.

Mabogunje noted that many households had lost their means of livelihoods while many farmlands across the country had been destroyed with consequent impact on food production and security.

She pointed out that the situation had projected the economy as an unsafe destination for private and foreign investments warning that if unaddressed, it could thwart government’s efforts in attracting foreign capital into the economy.

She said, “We note that investor confidence in the economy had been weak before the Covid outbreak and many investors still see Nigeria as a risky environment despite stronger oil prices and exit from recession. Confidence may not be restored in the near term if there is no significant improvement in the security environment. The situation has also impacted fiscal position by making government incur additional expenditure as contained in the supplementary budget, mainly to fund security operations. This could worsen 2021 fiscal deficit in the light of low revenue mobilization.”

While stating that it is important to have this challenge resolved at all costs, the LCCI President averred that decentralizing the security eco-system by enabling state and local governments take key security-related decisions is an option to consider even as she insisted that “it is also important to ensure a concrete and sustainable means of tackling the challenge of youth unemployment by designing programs and policies that would bolster employment opportunities for the youths in the country.”

Meanwhile, the LCCI President has hailed the inauguration of the National Steering Committee of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy pointing out that the calibre of membership speaks to the determination of President Mohammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

She however stated that what would count at the end of the day is the outcome of this laudable initiative arguing that “it is not materially different in outlook from several other similar initiatives in the past.”

“Despite several poverty alleviation programs implemented by successive administrations, poverty incidence has remained elevated in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 40 percent of Nigerians were below the poverty line in 2019. Poverty situation has worsened considerably by the disruptions associated with the pandemic. Consumer purchasing power particularly among middle and low income group depressed significantly on account of higher inflation and exchange rate depreciation. According to the World Bank, rising consumer prices pushed some seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.

“Meanwhile, employment conditions have also worsened with jobless rate rising to a record high of 33.3 percent last year. The rising spate of insecurity has also contributed to the poverty narrative in the country. Many households particularly in the Northern region have lost their means of livelihood to the activities of bandits.

“What would make a difference between this and previous programmes is the implementation and appropriateness of the strategy. A major deliverable of the committee should be the co-ordination of these initiatives to avoid duplication of efforts and working at cross purposes. The framework to make this happen is critical to the achievement of desired outcomes.”

She further suggested that building the capacity of the economy to create wealth and jobs should receive a much greater attention. This, she said, should apply to all strata of economic players – micro enterprises, small businesses, medium enterprises and large corporates.

“We should also prioritize investment in human capital, especially education and wealth both of which are becoming increasingly inaccessible by many households”, she added.

Photo: President, LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje

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