The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) thanks President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his New Year’s address to the nation. As the voice and representative of the business community, we acknowledge the challenges faced in the past year and commend the President for his commitment to addressing critical issues that impact the economic landscape of Nigeria.

The Chamber carefully reviewed the President’s speech as he highlighted vital aspects of his administration’s achievements and challenges faced and outlined plans to address these critical concerns. The LCCI has identified positive and concerning elements from the address to foster constructive dialogue and provide a comprehensive analysis.

The commitment to power projects, including the Siemens Energy initiative and efforts to enhance the reliability of transmission lines, is a positive step towards addressing the critical issue of electricity supply, which aligns with the business community’s aspirations for a robust and diversified economy. However, there is an urgent need to address the structure of the power sector. The Government needs to consider bringing private sector investment into the transmission segment of the power sector. This would ensure adequate technical and financial capacity for a well-functioning sector to power economic growth.

The focus on cultivating farmlands to grow staple crops and boost food security aligns with the need to ensure constant food supply, security, and affordability for citizens. However, LCCI cautions that the productivity of the farmlands and the effectiveness of investments in food production are subject to adequate security measures. Investment in agriculture has a limited chance of success as long as the Government fails to deal with the security issues. LCCI recommends that the Government consider fast-tracking the movement of the Police from the Exclusive list to the Concurrent list to be legislated upon by the Federal and State Governments. This will guarantee effective policing of the nooks and crannies of the society, particularly the farmlands.

The announcement of a new national living wage is a positive step towards ensuring the well-being of workers and promoting inclusive economic growth. The dedication to creating a conducive business environment is commendable. The assurance to simplify fiscal and tax policies, the commitment to removing obstacles hindering business competitiveness, and the call for collaboration with the private sector resonate well with the Chamber’s vision for a thriving business environment.

The LCCI believes that while removing the fuel subsidy was necessary, its impact on individuals, families, and businesses, leading to discomfort, must be carefully managed. The potential ripple effects on the cost of living and inflation must be closely monitored. Acknowledging the challenges of high inflation (above 28%) and an unacceptable under-employment rate is crucial. However, specific strategies to address these issues were not mentioned, leaving room for concerns about the impact on citizens.

While efforts to address security challenges were mentioned, specific details on comprehensive security strategies were limited. The acknowledgment that security problems are not entirely solved raises questions about the effectiveness of current measures.

The commitment to building a fair and equitable society and addressing inequality is commendable. However, specific policy measures to close the widening wealth gap are unclear. Despite the setting parameters for the evaluation of ministers and heads of agencies mentioned, there is a need for transparency in these evaluations to ensure accountability and performance improvement.

The LCCI appreciates the President’s efforts to address these critical issues facing the nation. However, the Chamber urges the administration to provide more detailed plans and strategies to tackle these challenges, such as inflation, under-employment, security, and social inequality. A transparent and inclusive approach to governance will contribute to building public confidence and achieving sustainable economic growth.


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