The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the Federal Government to ensure productivity of business through sound and result oriented business regulations and innovative implementation in the country 2019.
Mr Muda Yusuf, Director General of the chamber in his Economic and Business Review in 2018 and Outlook for 2019, made available to the mediz, said the development was necessary in view of the unimpressive performance of the country’s global rating of ease of doing business in the outgoing year
Yusuf said: ’’We acknowledge the efforts of the present administration through the Presidential Ease of Doing Business Council (PEBEC) and series of Presidential Executive Orders targeted at improving the business environment.
“ In 2017, there was record leap of 24 steps in the Ease Of Doing Business ranking for the country, from 169 to 145.However, the Government still has enormous task of ensuring much better performance to enhance the productivity of businesses in 2019’’.
He said the power situation continues to pose severe challenges to the private sector operators, impacting adversely on productivity.
He added that throughout the outgoing year, the chamber received complaints across sectors about high energy costs especially high expenditure on diesel, higher cost of and scarcity of gas, and payment demand by Discos for power that were not supplied.
He said these continue to take its toll on the bottom line of investors, stressing that SMEs and some real sector companies reported that they spend as much as 20-25% of their total operating cost on provision of alternative power supply and payment to power distribution companies
The Nigerian ports, he said, were classified among the worst ports in the world in 2018 due to challenges bordering on delay of import/export processes, heavy human and vehicular congestion to and within the ports, difficulty in gaining access to the ports due to bad roads and security concerns.
‘’The LCCI recent maritime port feedback research finds that approximately 40% of businesses located around the Lagos ports’ have either relocated to other areas, scaled down operations or completely shut down due to vehicle traffic congestion crises. This development has very huge adverse implication for non-oil export, job creation, tax revenue and real economic activities,’’ he added
According to him, in 2018, businesses expaerienced frequent incidence of overbearing regulatory disposition, leading to increased burden on businesses, higher cost of operation, waste of executive time and reputational consequences.
These manifested in form of fines and charges that are sometimes difficult to justify, sanctions, regular summons of corporate executives.
He said in 2018, there were mounting concerns by stakeholders on the multiplicity of fees charged by the banks which includes charges on transaction, card maintenance, transfer fees and other charges.
‘’The Nigerian economy remained fragile with the high dependence on oil sector for revenue and foreign exchange earnings. Although oil revenues increased with recovering oil prices in 2018, the impact on the economy was subdued by the huge foreign exchange commitments to petroleum product importations and the inherent subsidy.
‘’With the limited progress in the ongoing effort to diversify government revenue sources, the performance of the oil and gas sector would remain a critical factor that would shape the outlook for the economy in 2019,’’he added.