New Telegraph

December 2, 2023

LCCI laments risks to Nigeria’s economic position in Africa

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has raised the alarm that Nigeria’s sustainability as largest economy on the African continent is currently being threatened by on-going macroeconomic challenges in the country. President of LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, made this known to New Telegraph in Lagos, saying that insecurity, coupled with myriad of problems, including oil theft, subsidy regime, industrial dispute, ASUU and foreign exchange crisis, were already overshadowing Nigeria’s economic growth.

He said this could be inimical to sustaining Nigeria as the largest economy in the continent in foreseeable future, if government does not urgently take bold steps to tackle the profound trajectories. Olawale-Cole revealed that the country was hugely endowed with human and natural resources, adding that there was an urgent need for government to pay special attention to education and human capacity development as this will determine the future of youths and sustainable economic growth. According to him, the chamber is aware of the overshadowing effect of politics over economy and will, therefore, wish to contribute to the setting of a new economic order that can take the country’s economy out of the doldrums.

The LCCI president stressed that a new policy directions, institutional reforms and sound governance were critical to creating a new economic order in Nigeria, including a new Nigeria. Olawale-Cole said: “Beyond economic management, we understand that countries rise or fall through leadership and governance. Nigerians have another opportunity to decide who leads them in the next four years from 2023- 2027. “The Nigerian economy has been inundated with a myriad of problems among which are oil theft, an unsustainable subsidy regime, insecurity, and a foreign exchange crisis. “However, despite all these challenges, the prospects and future remain bright for the Nigerian economy. “Nigeria is the largest economy on the African continent with an output in the region of almost half a trillion dollars in nominal terms.

The country is also hugely endowed with human and natural resources. “We need to pay special attention to education as this will determine the future of our youths. The academic staff union of universities (ASUU) in Nigeria has been on strike for over 220 days now. “We need to provide longlasting solutions to the issue of industrial disputes in the country.” Speaking on the plight of ehailing drivers, Olawale-Cole said: “One of the biggest employers of our youths today including graduates are the e-hailing driving opportunities with such platforms as Uber, Bolt etc.

“These drivers have been complaining about the unfair practices of the owners of the e-hailing technology platforms. Their margins are being massively eroded because of inflation and the cost of vehicle maintenance and yet the owners of this platforms have not yielded to the cries of these drivers. “We are appealing first to the owners and management of these platforms to be more sensitive to the plight of these drivers.

“They should have an engagement with them with a view to reviewing and making their operating conditions more humane. Many of them have are graduates, they have opted for this service because of the unemployment situation. It is unfair to take advantage of them.” The LCCI president stressed: “The services should be mutually beneficial and in the interest of all players, the owners of the platform, the drivers and passengers must be well taken care of. “We appeal to the owners of the platform and the relevant government authorities to create a platform for dialogue between the E-hailing drivers “They have complained about the increasing cost of vehicle maintenance, high cost of spare parts and rising cost of fuel. All of these are affecting their margins and their welfare.”

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