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NACCIMA ex-DG urges EAC to tackle leakages to increase revenue

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An Economic expert, Dr John Isemede, has urged the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to urgently tackle leakages in the various sectors of the economy to increase the country’s revenue.

Isemede, ex-Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency  in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said that the country generated sufficient revenue to tackle its needs but most of the funds went into private pockets.

The former National Consultant on Organised Private Sector (OPS) matters to United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), also spoke on increment in Value Added Tax (VAT).

He said that increasing VAT from five per cent to 7.2 per cent would generate little to the economy if the leakages persisted.

According to him, how would one explain a situation in an agency of government where N20,000 is paid for services and N5,000 is receipted.

“What this means is that faceless Nigerians are enriching themselves to the detriment of the economy they are employed to salvage,” he said.

reports that on Monday, President Buhari constituted a new Economic Advisory Council to be headed by Prof. Doyin Salami.

Other members are Dr Mohammed Sagagi (Vice-Chairman); Prof Ode Ojowu; Dr Shehu Yahaya; Dr Iyabo Masha; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; Mr Bismark Rewane; and Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu (Secretary).

The announcement, which was contained in a statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the council would replace the current Economic Management Team and will be reporting directly to the President.

“The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues, working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies,” Adesina said.

Isemede, a former United Bank for Africa Plc staff on International Trade, said that the government needed to look inward and check leakages in its agencies in order to generate sufficient revenue.

On foreign exchange restriction on 43 items by the CBN, the sales, export, agribusiness and marketing expert, said that the forex restriction on the items was in order.

He, however, said that the consequence of the ban had led to a shortfall in revenue from import duties, VAT and other levies to the government.

“The Ministry of Finance will find it difficult to draw up the national budget and finance it because another round of borrowing will lead to uncertainty in the economy.

“The N30,000 new minimum wage to workers has to be fulfilled, hence the need by the government to shore up its revenue to meet the challenges.

“More revenue would come from the agric business, solid minerals, petroleum sector if the refineries work, paper mills, infrastructure like the national carriers, Ajaokuta steel complex, power, among others, are fixed and harnessed,” he said.

The former member, Nigeria’s Trade Policy Review Committee in 2011, advised all tiers of government to create jobs.

Isemede noted that a country with an estimated population of 200 million to foreign reserves of 43 billion dollars was not too good.

“We must close the gap between the Monetary (CBN) and the Fiscal side of the equation, because we cannot run a country where we can produce wheat and we are importing wheat with over N650 billion and rice with over N360 billion annually.

“The Ajaokuta Steel Complex; the refineries, paper mills, should be revived to generate additional revenues,” he said.

Isemede said that no government would sign all sorts of agreements, open its borders and encourage importation without a balance of trade with others.
ITM/JI/AJA

Editied by Joe Idika/Adeleye Ajayi

Economy

NGBF, NACCIMA sign partnership agreement toward industrial growth

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The Nigerian Global Business Forum (NGBF) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) are partnering on many initiatives by supporting businesses that can drive massive industrial growth.

NACCIMA made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.

The partnership was aimed at covering a wide range of activities and initiatives such as the development of industrial parks (light factories), organising workshops, exhibitions, conferences, trade missions, policy advocacy, amongst others.

Mr Afolabi Andu, President NGBF, noted that the objective of the partnership was to primarily establish Nigeria’s economic growth and ensure sustainability through the strategic involvement of both the NACCIMA membership network alongside the NGBF members.

Andu reiterated that the onus of national economic development was on its citizens.

He pointed ou that most of the Asian and Far Eastern brands globally recognised today, emerged through the vision of industrial  Parks where quality national brands were initially established now resulting into global brands.

“This is in line with our strategy of systematically and deliberately working toward the development of formidable Nigerian brands through our strategic partnership,’’ he said.

Dele Oye, Second Deputy President of NACCIMA, noted that with this partnership came a healthy exchange of ideas and commercial interface between both organisations which would invariably be to the country’s overall benefit.

“The strategic partnership between NACCIMA and NGBF is an actualisation of one of Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu’s principal objectives for her tenure as National President of NACCIMA.

“This is to promote and develop all matters affecting business through provision of a network for national and international businesses.

“With oil price hovering around 30 dollars per barrel and the country in another recession technically, there’s no better time for diversification into non-oil sector of the economy for GDP growth,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Memorandum of Understanding of the partnership was done via zoom, an online meeting platform.


Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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NGBF, NACCIMA sign MoU on industrial development

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The Nigerian Global Business Forum (NGBF), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to drive industrial development.

Speaking during the signing of the  MoU via Webinar on Tuesday,Mr Afolabi Andu, President of NGBF,  said its objective was to primarily enhance Nigeria’s economic growth.

NGBF is an umbrella organisation for Nigerian Business Forums in the UK, United StatesA, Ireland, Austria and the Caribbean, while NACCIMA is the umbrella body for all City, State, Regional , Bilateral and Multilateral Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria.

According to Andu, the agreement will equally ensure sustainability through strategic involvement of membership network of both organisations.

He noted that the partnership covered a wide range of activities, especially initiatives such as the development of Industrial parks,(light factories), organising of workshops, exhibitions, conferences, trade missions, policy and advocacy.

”At a time when global economy is witnessing downward trend due to the effects of Coronavirus pandemic, countries are focusing on salvaging their economies by supporting businesses that can drive industrial growth,” Andu said.

He said that with oil price hovering around 30 dollars per barrel and the country in another recession technically, there was no better time for diversification into non-oil sectors of the economy for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, than now.

The NGBF president also pointed out that most of the Asian and far Eastern brands globally recognised today, emerged through the vision of Industrial Parks where quality national brands were initially established, now resulting into global brands.

“This is in line with our strategy of systematically and deliberately working towards the development of formidable Nigerian brands through strategic partnership,” he said.

On his part, Mr Dele Oye, Second Deputy President of NACCIMA, said that with the partnership, there was bound to be  healthy exchange of ideas and commercial interface between both organisations to the country’s overall benefit.

“The strategic partnership between NACCIMA and NGBF is an actualisation of one of Hajiya Saratu Aliyu’s principle objectives for her tenure as NACCIMA president, to promote matters affecting business through provision of a network for national and international business.

NACCIMA was established in 1960 to provide advocacy, trade promotion, business development, capacity building, research and mediation on trade and investment.

“Currently the organisation has well over 5,000 registered members across Nigeria,” Oye said.



Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)

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Africa Liberation Day: Ex NACCIMA D-G calls for stronger bond between Nigeria, ECOWAS

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Dr John Isemede on Tuesday called for a stronger bond between Nigeria and the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) to break barriers hindering trade on in the continent.

Isemede, a former  Director-General,  Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), made the call in an interview with  the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He spoke against the backdrop of the Africa Liberation Day celebrated every May 25.

According to him, for the smooth operations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Nigeria need to understand the market terrain, and difference in trade terms across the continent.

He noted that ECOWAS had recorded successes that should be a model for the country to build upon, to proffer clear guide and understanding of the AfCFTA agreement.

NAN reports that the aim of AfCFTA, signed in Kigali, Rwanda,on March 21, 2018, was to create a single market for goods and services as well as promote intra-African trade.

“How prepared is Nigeria for the AfCFTA, do we really understand what the agreemen entails.

“Ordinarily, the agreement signed was to take effect from July 1, 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been pushed forward to Jan. 1, 2021.

“For effective running of AfCFTA, there is the need to know more about ECOWAS and its activities, so that we can move smoothly from the known to the unknown market or terrain, note the different and diverse trade terms across the continent.

“Then have a plan on how to join with others on a single bloc of 1.3m consumers.

“We need to understand and map out ways to make it successful, get everyone prepared.

“Also, we should be considering the ECOWAS integration and the breaking down of the trade barriers.

“We have to ratify and identify our market, know the team in place, logistics in terms of sea port, airport, silos, standard, language experts and all of that,” he said.

Isemede faulted the research carried out on the AfCFTA as he stated: “Is Nigeria prepared?

“The research carried out was within Nigeria and you do not carry out research with the aim to sell outside.

He, however, highlighted 30 areas whereby ECOWAS had recorded successes that should serve as a yardstick.

“We are still together after 57 years, unlike the European Union.

“Even Mauritania that was out is coming back, we have a clear aim and objective of the bloc, ability to manage the diversity (Francophone/Anglophone divide) with the LUEOA that is almost parallel.

“The PTA, FTA, CET, but working hard on the following – Customs Union, Agric, Trade, payment systems, Standards harmonisation etc.

“With the new generation banks, ECOWAS funds flows, imports, exports, ATM transfers and with Fewemma on single economic/industrial policies, we have better days ahead.

ECOWAS traders are working to upscale the informal sector to legitimate transactions.

“Trade has reduced political and other tensions, helping to redistribute goods in the Sub- region, free movement of goods and services.

ECOWAS ETL is working very fine; elimination of tariffs and working on non-tariff barriers, the rule of origin is on.

“Seamless approval of goods on the ETLS and now segmented, each country  is free to work directly with its OPS members.

Standardisation bus and operations of the scheme, no visa requirements, international vehicle licence, international vehicle insurance, and international motor permit, among others,” he said.

Isemede said that the border closure against some of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries was not as a result of tension, but because Nigeria could not compete in terms of food production.

He said that if we produced enough, after catering for domestic consumption, Nigeria would still have enough to export.

“In the 1900’s Nigeria was producing more than 50 per cent of palm oil requirement and in 1960, we were producing 25 per cent requirement.

“Were people smuggling palm oil at that time? No. Now, we are just producing one per cent.

“Since we are talking about continental trade, there must be backward integration, let us produce more and then we will be able to compete with other states on the continent,” Isemede said.

se

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Economy

Workers’ Day: NACCIMA calls for concerted efforts on employment, remuneration 

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The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called for concerted efforts by government, businesses and workers to address the effects of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic on employments and remunerations.

Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, Director-General of NACCIMA, gave the advice in a statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos to celebrate Worker’s Day.

Olukanni said that the advice became necessary because the chamber, in recognising the role and importance of workers, devoted attention to their welfare.

He, however, noted that the celebration of 2020 May Day was shrouded in very unusual environment and circumstances, unprecedented in the history of industrialisation.

He stressed that the issue of job losses and inability of government and private sector to pay salaries had naturally dominated headlines and was of major concern to the Chamber, workers and business operators.

As a result, Olukanni advised that all efforts be made not to sack workers and steps be taken by business establishments to negotiate payment of salaries to workers.

NACCIMA joins the rest of the nation to salute Nigerian workers on occasion of this year’s May Day which is internationally recognised and celebrated across the world.

NACCIMA chambers and corporate members recognise the role and  importance of their workers hence, they devote a lot of attention to their welfare.

“We are aware some of our members have agreed to pay their workers part of their salaries or 50 per cent of their salaries for the month of April when there was almost complete lockdown and many of the workers were at home and not working.

“This is a strategic way by our members and other various employers to manage their liquidity at this difficult times; as they look forward to when life will be back to normal.

“For now we are still in unusual times and it’s a time for what we can describe as “Shared Sacrifices”  between workers, business owners and management.

“We are also in support of the call for tax deferment, moratorium on loan payments, among others, to help keep private sector from going under completely.

“But to prevent and discourage sacking of workers, consideration should also be given to what has been described as Pay-Chek Protection Programme; and Job Security Programme for the private sector.

“This will certainly involve support of government to the private sector in this regard, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“And we hope governments both at the federal and state levels will look into this.

With the ongoing preparations for gradual return to work on May 4, the NACCIMA director-director advised a gradual and staggered return.

He urged business operators to ensure safety and security of the work environment to prevent a resurgence.

“The work environment should be properly cleaned up and workers on their part must adhere to all safety and health protocols,” he said.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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COVID-19: NACCIMA seeks review of lockdown order

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The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA)  says it has become necessary to review the near one-month old lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach favourable to the Nigerian economy.

Its Director-General, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni gave the advice in a statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos.

Olukanni, lauding the efforts of the various levels of government at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus and providing palliatives for the less privileged,  said the continued lockdown  was taking its toll on businesses across the country.

“First, we commend the Federal and State Governments for their determined efforts to stop the  spread of  COVID-19 across the nation, using various strategies such as campaigns on social distancing, and adherence to health prescriptions such as sanitising and washing of hands.

“We also note that lockdowns which has been in use, was also designed to stop the spread, especially in a place like Lagos which was one of the epicenters of the virus.

“We also commend the efforts of various organisations to provide palliatives to the less privileged.

“Members of NACCIMA across the country have indeed been making donations in kind and cash  across the country to relevant groups and institutions.

“This is a reflection of commitment of NACCIMA and its members to play its role in the fight against the deadly virus and its various negative economic and social impacts.

“While we understand the reasons for the lockdown which has been on for almost a month; it has become necessary to review the lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach for various reasons.

“The continued lockdown is taking a serious toll on businesses across the country and ripple effects  on security is becoming alarming; especially as miscreants seized the opportunity to rob citizens and break into business premises.

“Consideration should be given to gradual opening of some businesses and other commercial  operations,” he said.

According to him, steps should be taken to allow some categories of workers to resume work and business operations while keeping to safety.

“Protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing ban on large gatherings and increased use of testing to identify those who may have been affected and requiring isolation and treatment.

“Certainly a lockdown order ad-infinitum is not sustainable and many of our members are of the view that this should be reviewed to ease the lockdown,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Economy

COVID-19: NACCIMA tasks Nigerians on safety measures 

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The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has urged Nigerians to adhere to the safety measures advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Nigerian health authorities.

NACCIMA President, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, made the appeal in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.

Aliyu stated that the appeal for precautionary and safety measures was necessary to stay alive during this period of global and national health crisis.

“Only then can we be there when the crisis is over to rebuild our lives and businesses,” she said.

Aliyu commended the federal and state authorities on their efforts to control and reduce the spread of the virus across the country as well as their cooperation with the rest of the international community to end the pandemic.

She also lauded the recent stimulus package by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its setting up of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.

The NACCIMA President, however, stressed on the need to make the coalition more inclusive, embracing the entire Organised Private Sector of Nigeria.

“We must also continue to work at the state level, through our city and state chambers, to deal with the crisis and make our own contribution to the fight against the spread of the disease, no matter how little,” she said. NAN

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Economy

NACCIMA calls for stimulus to mitigate economic impact of Covid-19

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National President of the Nigerian Association of  Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, has called on the federal government to take steps through a clear Plan of Action to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID 19.

Ms Iya Aliyu, in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Lagos, said NACCIMA  had taken note that stringent efforts were being made to contain the spread of the deadly virus in Nigeria and across the world.

She, however, said that the association was of the strong view that government must equally pay attention to the potentially devastating negative economic dimension of the global pandemic.

According to her, this has been revealed in the drastic fall in prices of crude oil to around $32, well below the 2020 budget benchmark of $57 per barrel.

She also noted absence of market for about 50 cargo of Nigerian crude that has not found buyers, as recently revealed.

“All these developments, according to the Minister of Finance, is compelling government to undertake a review of the 2020 Budget.

“NACCIMA strongly supports a stimulus package to support the SMEs, in particular ,who will be most hard hit by the economic impact of Covid 19.

“Among other steps, government should consider including lowering of interest rate; and enlisting the banks to be part of the stimulus package through favourable interest rates.

“The government should also consider drastic reduction in the cost of governance to make the required savings,” Iya Aliyu said.

She said that the government must also consider more effective and widespread use of the National Collateral Registry for easier access to finance by the SMEs.

“We strongly recommend immediate steps for implementation of these recommendations and inclusion in action to be taken by government.

“State governments are equally advised to take necessary action at their own end as appropriate and against the backdrop of these recommendations,” she said. NAN

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Economy

NACCIMA lauds ITF on bridging skills gap

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The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has lauded the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) on its effort in bridging skills gap in the country.

Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, National President of MACCIMA, gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja at the ITF, Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC), Abuja 2020 graduation.

The MSTC, an arm of the ITF, awarded the National Innovative Diploma (NID) and National Vocational Certificate (NVC) to its 316 graduates after completion of skills training.

The MSTC, which runs two-year skills training course was established in 2009 as a post-secondary technical institution to produce needed technicians for economic growth and to create opportunities for employable skills.

In a keynote address, Aliyu underscored the impact of the MSTC on national development, adding that the initiative had provided a model for resolving the root causes of high unemployment rates in the country.

According to her, human capital development, which refers to the process of acquiring and increasing the number of persons, who have the skills, education and experience, is critical for national economic growth.

Therefore, she said the implementation of the centre and other programmes of ITF could provide a means by which national development may be accomplished.

Speaking on the unemployment data from 2010 to 2018 as provided by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), she said that it showed persistent rise in the number of unemployed in the country.

According to her, the number is ranging from 3.5 million in 2010 to 21 million as at the last quarter of 2018.

Based on the data provided, she said that one could infer that there were 23 million people unemployed in Nigeria presently.

She said that in contradiction, businesses across Nigeria suffered from a talent shortage; a difficulty in filling job openings with skilled workers, which called for need to employ expatriates to sustain production across various sectors.

“The dangers that unemployment brings to any country are well documented, the issues of insecurity and rising crime that face Nigeria are currently the focus of national discourse and is common knowledge.

“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP: 2017-2020) is designed with a focus on reducing unemployment through the adoption of a jobs and skill programmes in sectors such as ICT, agriculture, industry and construction.

“The private sector, see evidence of this new approach in the activities of the government agencies such as the ITF, which has undertaken demand-gap analyses and training programmes in collaboration with private sector stakeholders.

“The creation of MSTC is yet another step in the right direction. The centre, set up as post-Secondary Technical Institutions, provide industry-relevant career and technical education programmes for secondary school leavers and adult learners,’’ she said.

Aliyu noted that the approval of MSTC by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), while ensuring conformity with international certification standards like the National Industrial Technical Education Certificate (NITEC) of Singapore, ensured the domestic and international relevance of programmes conducted at the Centres.

According to her, the addition of NID component, which is included in programmes accessible through the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), ensures widespread adoption and acceptance by the growing youth population.

Edited By: Felix Ajide

 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma

 

 

 

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Economy

Budget: Ex-NACCIMA boss tasks FG on blockage of leakages in MDAs

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Dr John Isemede on Saturday urged the Federal Government to block revenue leakages in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to boost local revenue generation.

Isemede, a former Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

He was reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the 2020 appropriation bill.

Isemede, who frowned at the Federal Government’s decision to borrow to fund the 2020 budget said that MDAs should be given revenue targets to block leakages.

“There are many leakages in the system in the MDAs, parastatals and others. What we need to do is to block all these leakages and give the MDAs targets.

“It is not a crime to borrow but the manner at which we are borrowing is what is giving us concern.

 

“Its good to borrow but local capacity, local production and revenue generation within the country should be the solution.

“If we have to borrow to fund budget and infrastructure in 2020, we are going to borrow for 2021 and so on.

“Borrowing is good but revenue generation internally is better.

“Other countries are wealthy not because the population is more than that of Nigeria or not because the land mass is bigger than Nigeria.

“But they are borrowing and not just borrowing like that, they are borrowing to add value to what they have.

“If we now borrow money to run the 2020 budget and other things, it means we are going to borrow for 2021 budget.

“If you borrow today, you are going to pay back tomorrow and if you are not producing and you are not exporting, there’s no way you can pay back that money.

“We should take full control of the opportunities given to us by God, Nigeria is at the centre of the world and we are at the centre of Africa,’’ Isemede said.

He urged the government to work with the new Economic Management Council on ways to boost local revenue generation, develop export and production.

Isemede noted that production and export could be another solution to help Nigeria to generate the necessary revenue.

He said that the country needed favourable business environment to attract investors.

According to him, Ambassadors must have targets as marketing managers to sell made in Nigeria goods outside the shores of the country as part of measures to avoid continued borrowing.

“We should invest heavily in infrastructure, invest heavily in man power development and look at other ways of shoring up our revenues, that is the only way we can generate jobs as well as wealth creation,” he said.

Isemede said that Nigeria needed to invest heavily in its export drive through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to ensure that goods produced were sellable instead of depending on oil.

“Borrowing is good but we should know what we are borrowing for, let’s invest heavily in our export drive.

 

“Its not the gimmick of import on a single window or border closure, let us have general overhaul of the production sector, pump more money into export development.

“We should look at the revenue, Nigeria should not be confused with the size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We don’t use GDP to run the economy, we don’t use GDP to pay salaries, what we use is revenue generation,’’ Isemede stated.

He also called for the strengthening of the agricultural value chain to create the needed jobs and revenue.

“The president promised that he will generate 10 million jobs in the next few years but the truth of the matter is that we can only generate that from agriculture through backward integration and import substitution.

“We are borrowing because we are not developing value chain, the farmers are supposed to be working with technical colleges, the processors are supposed to be working with universities.

“While exporters are supposed to be working with professionals and exporters. That chain is not there,’’ Isemede said.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Ese E. Ekama
(NAN)

 

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