Provide special support for industries, LCCI urges FG

Considering current economic challenges bedeviling the Nigerian economy, the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr Chinyere Almona, has urged the federal government to provide special support mechanisms to strategic companies and industries that play critical roles in achieving inclusive economic growth.

In a statement by LCCI, Almona said any major recent improvements recorded in Nigeria’s economy in recent times could be traced back to the game-changing interventions of key players in the organised private sector (OPS).

She said as Nigeria strives to stabilise prices, boost forex inflow and attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), it is imperative to recognise the pivotal role private companies play in driving growth, fostering innovation and creating employment opportunities.

The strategic companies, she said, often operate in key sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, technology and infrastructure, and serve as the backbone of the economy, contributing significantly to its stability and resilience.

Acknowledging the impact that Dangote Refinery is beginning to make on Nigeria’s economy, particularly in achieving national self-sufficiency in the production of diesel and aviation fuel, she said the refinery has started to fulfill its promise by addressing critical issues in the Nigerian energy sector.

Almona said the refinery has helped to crash the price of diesel from N1,800 to N1,225 per litre and that with another tranche of supply in the coming days, the price is expected to drop to about N1,000 per litre.

The DG expressed optimism that with the commencement of the production of petrol next month, prices are also expected to dip. She added that the availability of locally produced diesel signifies a significant step towards achieving self-sufficiency in energy production, ultimately boosting Nigeria’s economic resilience.

Also highlighting the commencement of international flights to the United Kingdom by Air Peace, she said this has forced foreign airlines to crash prices by about 60 per cent.

Urging more support for local companies to play in sectors that have hitherto been monopolised by foreign companies, she said more local airlines covering more international routes mean more aviation supply chain-related jobs, more FX savings and earnings and more reduction in the prices of international flight tickets.

She went on to add that these companies, notwithstanding their strategic importance, are not immune to the adverse impacts of economic downturns, market uncertainties, and global disruptions. The ongoing challenges, exacerbated by the rising cost of doing business and other socio-economic factors like threatening insecurity conditions, have intensified the need for targeted interventions and support from the government.

She urged the federal government to give credit and low-interest loan facilitation, grants, or waivers to eligible companies to facilitate their operational continuity, investment in infrastructure and technological advancement, create a conducive policy environment by improving policies and regulatory frameworks that incentivise innovation, entrepreneurship and long-term investment as well as enhance international trade potential by facilitating market access and trade opportunities both domestically and internationally, enabling companies to expand their reach and tap into new growth markets.

“Also, fund innovative research and development by allocating resources towards initiatives aimed at promoting product diversification and value addition across strategic sectors. By doing these, the government can stimulate economic growth, foster job creation and promote inclusive development across Nigeria.

“Furthermore, these measures will contribute to enhancing the country’s competitiveness on the global stage, attract foreign investment and position Nigeria as a key player in the regional and international markets. The government must prioritise the needs of strategic companies and take proactive steps to address their challenges to pave the way for a more resilient, diversified and inclusive economy that benefits all sectors,” she concluded.

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