Government urged to focus on economic recovery, job creation in 2018
Beyond recovery indicators and assurances by economic managers, members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have urged the Federal Government to adopt measures that would result in economic recovery and creation of jobs this year.
With unemployment rate at an all-time high of 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 amid projections that the figure might be worse in the fourth quarter, the OPS noted that many employers, including the public sector, found it difficult to pay workers as and when due, necessitating the need for measures that would impact on citizens’ welfare, especially lower food prices, reduced cost of healthcare, improved transportation system, constant power supply and security of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has projected a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of between three and four per cent this year far above predictions of the World Bank and other international finance institutions.
According to the LCCI and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the non-oil and manufacturing sectors’ recovery was somewhat slow because of issues of operating cost, investment climate and productivity faced by economic players.
Specifically, MAN noted that the real sector under-performed in the 2017 financial year, as indicators continue to reflect the sector’s gradual drift back into economic recession.
For the LCCI, among other issues, poor access to the ports due to bad state of the roads and absence of functioning rail had multifarious effects on the private sector, economy and the citizens as billions of naira were lost to inefficiencies and inherent shortcomings at the nation’s ports.
To address the challenges, the LCCI, in its research findings, stated that the port can double its 2016 non-oil volume of 1.1 million TEUs over the period of 2018 to 2019 if key reform measures are implemented.
Some of the reforms include the adoption and enforcement of an Integrated Advance Cargo and customs clearance system, with scanning, and tracking (SST) capabilities; implementation of the National Trade Data Centre project that is readily accessible to all agencies, operators and stakeholders at all times and everywhere to eliminate inherent abuses, as well as full Implementation of a Single Window Platform.
“The situation with the manufacturing sector in 2017 was that of a partial relief, especially with respect to access to foreign exchange. Manufacturers reported an improvement in the liquidity of the foreign exchange market. These enhanced their capacity to import raw materials and boosted capacity utilisation.”
According to MAN president, Dr. Frank Jacobs, the huge emphasis on infrastructure development, especially power and road infrastructure, was an important trend.
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