2013 Economic Review: Analysts Advocate Support For Local Industry

Experts in Nigeria’s banking and commerce industries have emphasized the need for Nigeria to develop infrastructure if its dream of building local industry would be fulfilled in the year 2014.

A Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Alex Ananeje, made this statement while appearing on the breakfast programme, Sunrise on Channels Television.

A Director of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dele Alimi, who was also a guest on the programme, added that there is no way the Nigerian economy can grow if the government does not provide an enabling environment for local businesses to thrive.

On its final edition for the year 2013, the programme sought to do a review of Nigeria’s performance during the year, and according to Alimi, “If we solve the problem of power in Nigeria, you will be shocked at the level of growth that will follow.”

While making his case for the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, Mr Alimi noted that statistics have shown that SMEs are responsible for over 30 million jobs in Nigeria. A figure he said means that they actually drive the economy. Therefore the country cannot afford to let the sector suffer.

Although, he agreed that the structure of many SMEs in Nigeria is not good enough, especially when the need to access funding is concerned, as only few lenders would want to release money to some of these small businesses considering the way they are run, but because the country needs that sector to thrive, then it must do all things to help business owners restructure their ventures; a role he said the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has been taking seriously.

Looking back at 2013, Mr Ananeje said that we (Nigeria) “could have done better as far as our economy is concerned”

Mr Alimi however added a different perspective to how much below par Nigeria’s economic performance had been during the year. He said that the cost of governance in Nigeria is too high, and there have been no real efforts to bring it down.

He alleged that the efforts made by the government, claiming to have reduced the salaries of government officials are deceptive, arguing that they only reduced their basic salaries while the large allowances are still being paid.

He asked for renewed policies to drive the economy, starting with developing programmes that will affect the people directly; from the farmers to the barbershop owners. He said that we need to build an economy where a barber can start his business without first bothering about acquiring a power generator.

Looking ahead, Alex Ananeje warned that the country is going to have some serious challenges in 2014, especially for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN: “We are entering the election year and more money will be pumped into the system, there has to be a stronger monetary policy put in place”