Chamber of Commerce campaigns for diversification

By Cynthia Okere, Lagos

2016 Lagos International Trade Fair.

The need to focus on non-oil economy for a greater development of Nigeria has been once again been emphasised.

The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Nike Akande explained that there was need for major adjustment in both public and private sectors of the economy, since the oil money could no longer sustain the country economically.

Non-oil sector
According to her, it is imperative to focus on non-oil sector for diversification which will encourage domestic investment, attract foreign capital and facilitate the enormous potentials in the economy.

”This potential abound in agriculture, industries, services, solid minerals and distributive trade sector.

“Recent development in the global economy has further underlined the imperative of economic diversification,”  Mrs Akande said.

She was speaking at the 30th edition of Lagos International Trade Fair.

Showcasing goods
The President of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture Mr Bassey Eden says the fair provides opportunities for investors to showcase their goods in line with the diversification policy.

Mr Eden also acknowledged the fact that the cost of doing business in Nigeria was very high because of the difficulty in accessing foreign exchange and infrastructural decay.

He explained that manufacturers were not producing, because they don’t have enough funds, stressing that most government policies are all words without action.

Conducive environment
Mr Eden therefore called on government to provide conducive environment for investors so that the diversification plan would succeed.

”Manufacturers are not able to produce because they don’t have funds for raw material. Government promised that 60 percent of foreign exchange will be giving to manufacturers, that’s the policy but it’s not happening because banks are not honouring those things. It’s one thing to put a policy, it’s one thing to implement it,’’ he added.

One of the Foreign Exhibitors and the Deputy General Manager of Maxis Tire, Mei Dio says doing business in Nigeria at present has some challenges due to the difficulty in accessing foreign exchange.

She explained that recession has really affected the business as people now spend prudently.

”Now it’s very difficult to do business but we still need to support customers in Nigeria. To import our tire now is very very difficult. Recession makes the customer not to release money easily because you will think of how much you have in your pocket first. Again, the money become less value, before, with N1000, you can buy a lot but for now, N1000 only buy small food,” Dio explained.

The fair which is still recording more participants currently has about 185 local companies, Six foreign companies and some states representatives.

The theme for this year’s trade fair is: ‘Positioning the Nigerian Economy for diversification and sustainable growth.’ It was chosen to underscore the importance of economic diversification and the creation of an enabling environment to attract new business investments from domestic and foreign investors and to grow existing ones.

Mercy Chukwudiebere