Tag Archives: LCCI

Vodacom seeks digitilisation for growth

 

Going full scale digital is a sustainable way of ensuring economic growth and matching population growth with infrastructural development, Vodacom Business, said yesterday in Lagos.

Its Executive Head of Operations (Ag), Olumide Idowu, who spoke at the Information Communications Technology Telecoms (ICTEL) Expo, 2018 organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) at Eko Hotel, said Nigeria is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and the most populous nation in sub-Sahara Africa. With an estimated 198 million, he said  existing infrastructure is overstressed.

He said: “Leaders around the world are committed to smart city building as they attempt to chart the course towards the development of their cities in order to meet social, economic, and environmental challenges.”

Idowu said the country is at a pivotal moment in its technological revolution and the current lack of infrastructure provides a ready springboard to embrace Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create a smarter and a more efficient nation. By using IoT technology, which is now commercially available, a host of intelligently connected services such as efficient healthcare in rural communities become possible a reality.

 

The Auditor General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, in his Annual Audit Report for 2016 has said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC ) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have cases to answer concerning the non-remittance of revenues for some months into the Federation Account.

According to the report, “It was observed from the CBN Components Statements that no collections were reported into the Federation Revenue Account by some revenue collecting Agencies for certain months of the year. It was not clear from available records why these months recorded no revenue collections and no explanation was provided for this.

“The Accountant-General has been requested to: Obtain an explanation from the Group Managing Director of NNPC and Director DPR for the non-collection of revenue during these relevant months. Ensure that any revenue found due for these months is remitted to the Federation Account, and evidence forwarded for audit verification.”

Ayine added that another abuse of financial regulation of the 2016 budget was found in the illegal movement of monies from two dedicated funds to purposes other than for the mandates of the funds.

He pointed out that monies were moved from the Stabilization Account for States and the Federal Government by the Presidency for the establishment of an Army Barracks and another sum as investment in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The two acts, according to him, apart from not being tidy on framework of recovery, are illegal. Just as another case of lending out the Ecological Funds meant to strictly check ecological challenges without records to track recovery.

“From available records, a total of N17,108,583,681.78 accrued from the Federation Account into 0.5% Stabilization Fund from January – December 2016.

“During the examination of Central Bank, Bank Statements for the year, we observed that the sum of N2,812,694,928.36 was funds released to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and N14,374,728,817.20 to the Federal Ministry of Defense from the Stabilization Fund.

“The Accountant-General has been requested to: Provide the authority for the Funds Invested, tenor of the investment, rate of interest payable, certificate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification; Explain the utilization of N14,374,728,817.20 for the purpose of funding a new division contrary to the purpose for which the Fund was created; Provide evidence of refund of this sum of N17,187,423,745.56 back to the Stabilization Fund,” the report said.

LCCI proposes 13% derivatives for states hosting ports

 

 

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says the 13 per cent derivatives principles applied to oil producing areas should be extended to states hosting the nation’s ports.

The President of LCCI, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, made the suggestion at a news conference on the state of the economy in Lagos.

Ruwase said that ports activities created profound negative externalities to host states and exerts tremendous pressure on the states’ facilities, which significantly affects roads, health facilities, traffic, environmental management and pollution.

These are costs that are borne by the states in which the ports are located and offers basis to argue that derivation principles should be applied to revenue generated through customs’ duties from the ports,” he said.

Ruwase said that the basis for derivation principles to oil producing areas was the negative externalities of oil production.

“The same logic should apply to Lagos State that suffers tremendous negative externalities because it is hosting the busiest ports in the country,” he said.

Ruwase said that it was imperative for derivation principle to be applied to Customs Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) in the spirit of equity.

According to him, it allows state to provide facilities and infrastructure to support economic activities.

He said there was increasing complaint by exporters regarding difficulty of exporting goods from Nigeria to other West African countries.

This, Ruwase said, was due to the bureaucratic bottlenecks of registration of products under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).

The  ETLS was currently managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the past, Nigeria used to have Ministry of Integration and Economic Cooperation which has responsibility for facilitating trade with other African countries, but this ministry has fused into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We believe that the administration of ETLS should be moved from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, specifically the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC),” Ruwase said.

He said that it would improve the administration of ETLS and serve exporters better.

On political instability and investment climate, Ruwase urged political actors to demonstrate restraint and refrain from activities that could weaken stability of polity and create avoidable social tension as electioneering activities increases.

He said there was a strong nexus between political stability and economic progress, adding that recent events in the polity were a cause for concern.

Ruwase said that an unstable political environment would escalate investment risk, create anxiety and weaken investors’ confidence.

“No meaningful investment can take place where there is no regard for rule of law.

“We should not create a situation where citizens and investors lose confidence in the state institutions.

“A loss of confidence in state institution is a recipe for anarchy; we, therefore, need to ensure the credibility and integrity of our institutions,” he said.

Ruwase said that respect for rule of law, independence and neutrality of institutions, especially non-partisan security agencies and judiciary, was critical at this present time.

LCCI reiterates call for Nigeria to ratify AfCFTA

 

 

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday restated its call for Nigeria to ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA is a trade agreement designed by the African Union (AU), with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single currency union.

LCCI President, Babatunde Ruwase,  said at a press briefing organised by the chamber on the state of the nation’s economy in Lagos that it was the first step in the negotiation process.

AfCFTA was signed by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, while Nigeria withheld its assent from the agreement at the 11th hour, citing lack of wide consultations with relevant stakeholders.

President Muhammadu Buhari had explained that the delay in Nigeria’s signing of the agreement was borne out of a desire to ensure that national interests, as well as regional and international obligations were balanced.

Ruwase said: “You will recall that the AfCTA has been contentious in the last couple of months. Nigeria did not just sign the agreement which held March 2018.

“As a result of the concerns raised by the stakeholders, Lagos Chamber of Commerce organised a stakeholders’ forum to discuss the matter.

“LCCI also participated in the forum organised by the Nigeria office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) headed by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe.

“In all of these interactions, we have assurances that safeguard measures would be put in place to protect sensitive sectors of the economy, most of these are in the manufacturing sector.”

He said that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also gave assurances at his quarterly interaction with the OPS that selected sectors of the economy would enjoy protection as impact study would be conducted.

In the light of the foregoing, our position is that we sign the agreement since signing is the only first step in the negotiation process.

“There will be subsequent protocols that need to be discussed and negotiated as they relate to specific sectors.

“It is also our understanding that adjustment can also be made as the process progresses,” the LCCI president said.

He said the entire process and integration arrangement should be viewed as a work in progress, noting that trade issues were not static, but dynamic.

Ruwase said: “It is important to be part of the process in order to influence the direction of the agreement and protect our interest.

“If we can be part of the ECOWAS, we believe that we can also be part of AfCFTA. The safeguard measures in ECOWAS can be replicated in the AfCFTA.

“The reality is that no economy can exist in isolation of other economies.”

He acknowledged that the economy was facing challenges in infrastructure, power and cost of doing business, saying government should sign, while putting measures in place to address the challenges.

“The totality of our economy is not about manufacturing.

“Manufacturing contributes about 12 per cent to GDP; we have services, financial institutions, distributive trade and creative industry, doing very well.

“We have more than manufacturing to offer the world. Let us look at the agreement holistically, because we have a lot to gain by being there,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), had also urged government to ratify the trade deal without delay.

However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had said that government should be circumspect on the decision to sign the AfCFTA, but await the outcome of a credible study that should guide its negotiations.

MAN said its concerns were yet to be addressed, stating that the recently conducted and launched study by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has still not addressed the lapses.