Lagos chambers clamours for economic diversification

By Abimbola Fashakin, Lagos

 

President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Nike Akande, on Tuesday harped on the need for the economy to be diversified in the face of dwindling oil price.

 

 

He spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

 

“We are quite aware and conscious of the sharp decline in the oil price. The economy should be diversified. We should look at agriculture, industrialisation and solid minerals.

 

“These are areas that have not been fully exploited. We discussed this with the Vice President. He even mentioned the issue of rice.

 

“Instead of importing rice from Taiwan, rice can be produced in the country and a lot of investment can be made from this.

 

He said that the government can also derive a lot of revenue from taxation, noting that the government can emulate states who are already benefiting from it.

 

He said: “It is not just about increasing the VAT. We are not asking for that but generally, most people don’t pay tax. Let people pay tax and we can get revenue from there.

 

On textile industry, he said: “I was managing the textile industry many years ago. After that, I became the Minister of Industry. Industrialisation is the key to economic development, employment generation and poverty alleviation.

 

“What I noticed when I was managing the industry , I tried to see how we can help the textile industry in those days. It is not easy.

 

According to him, the private sector needs encouragement in terms of infrastructural development in the country.

 

“The issue of power is being addressed fully and it will soon be completed. We are sure that once we have power, half of the problem is solved.

 

“The private sector should be the engine of growth, while the government should provide the enabling environment.

 

“The Vice President was very receptive to all the points that we mentioned and there is hope that the nation’s economy will improve and we are going to be partners in progress.

 

“The LCCI is the number one chamber in the country. We are over 127 years old and we are always the first to react on areas of economy as it affects not only the private sector but also the public sector.” He added 

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