Lagos, Feb. 18, 2024: The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has tasked the Minister of Finance, Mr Olawale Edun, on transparent financial strategy and tax relief for private sector development.
The National President, NACCIMA, Mr Dele Oye, said this in a statement on Saturday in Lagos following the association’s visit to the minister.
He said the visit as a representative of the private sector was to engage constructively about the current state of the nation’s economy.
Oye noted that the collective objective was to foster an economic environment that balanced the needs of the public and private sectors while ensuring sustainable growth and stability.
He noted that the association’s findings revealed that while the private sector diligently fulfilled its tax obligations, there was an expectation of reciprocity in the form of efficient public services and infrastructure.
He, however, observed that recent trends showed that increased tax revenue does not necessarily translate into tangible enhancements in these areas.
Oye stated that while the cessation of fuel subsidies had yielded significant savings, these funds appeared to have been reallocated to the public sector rather than being invested back into the private sector to stimulate economic activity.
He stressed that without clear fiscal reforms detailing the allocation and utilisation of tax revenues, the economy was deprived of essential goods and services that could be provided by the private sector.
“In light of these challenges, we present the following requests of a comprehensive and transparent articulation of the government’s short-term financial strategy, clear policy signals regarding tax relief for the overburdened formal sector.
“This is alongside a defined government policy direction on pivotal issues such as food security, inflation, and infrastructure development, a robust human capital development plan encompassing all sectors and intervention strategies for the domestication of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“It is important to get authorisation for the establishment of state police to enhance security infrastructure, ensuring the safety of citizens and the protection of economic interests,” he said.
Oye also emphasised the need for a commitment to curtail government expenditure, eliminating waste and inefficiencies, and reducing the disproportionate emoluments that serve a narrow political class at the expense of the nation.
He called for the full adoption and expeditious implementation of the African Development Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to bolster food security, exports, and employment opportunities.
He also advocated bolstering the capacity of local development banks to provide single-digit interest rate loans, fostering entrepreneurship and supporting both existing businesses (brownfield) and new ventures (greenfield).
“We recommend the establishment of industrial clusters across various states through joint venture arrangements among the federal and state governments, development partners, and private investors, aimed at stimulating industrialisation and job creation.
“We suggest expanding the role of the Bank of Industry to finance sectors beyond the industrial realm that can reduce the demand for foreign exchange.
“We urgently appeal to the Minister to engage with the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor to revisit and honour forward contracts that are backed by proper and compliant documentation, ensuring that commercial banks can use these hedges effectively against each letter of credit opened,” Oye said.