The Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yussuf, has given the federal government a recipe on how to improve the nation’s economy and boost investors’ confidence in the new year.
He advised government to urgently put in place a framework to ensure the liquidity of the foreign exchange market in order to restore investors’ confidence, enhance forex inflows, boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and reduce the level of uncertainty in the economy.
He told our correspondent that the tight monetary policy regime should be relaxed to spur domestic investment and consumer spending, while import tariffs should be reduced on major inputs for the production and services sectors to moderate the current high cost of goods and services, boost investment spending and enhance disposal income of citizens.
Yussuf added that import duty on motor vehicles (trucks and cars) should be reviewed to bring down distribution and transportation costs in the economy, adding that the automotive policy should be urgently reviewed and reworked.
In order to tackle the problem of hunger, the current commitment to agriculture should be sustained. But this should go beyond crop production. It should cover the entire value chain of production, storage, processing, transportation and marketing. Food processing firms should be given special incentives (tariffs and taxes) to reduce the price of staple foods such as bread and noodles.
According to the LCCI boss, the exclusion of the 41 items from the official foreign exchange market should be reviewed to exempt the critical manufacturing inputs that are currently on the list. Import exclusion policy should be managed within the context of the trade policy framework.
He also advised that liquidity in the power sector should be enhanced to ensure improvement in power supply, while adequate capitalisation of the Electricity Bulk Trader to provide liquidity to the power generating companies and the gas suppliers should be ensured.
He said the private sector owners of the power firms should also inject greater equity finance into the investments.
To ease the pressure of petroleum products imports on the foreign reserves and the forex market, he said domestic refining of petroleum products should be made a high priority in 2017.
Yussuf added that: “Public private partnership model for the development of new refineries and the brownfield investment initiatives should be accelerated. Private investors in domestic refining of petroleum products should be given the desired incentives to put an end to importation of petroleum products in 2017.’’
He said engagement with the Niger Delta stakeholders should be intensified to reduce the disruptions to oil production and consequently stabilise the fiscal position of government.
The policy of issuance of visa on arrival should be accelerated and expanded in scope to boost the inflow of foreign investment and grow the hospitality and tourism sector, Yussuf said.
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