Lagos Chamber of Commerce calls for flexible exchange rate

Toyin Odesomi, Lagos

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to adopt a flexible exchange rate regime to improve liquidity in the forex market and reduce uncertainty.

Speaking through its President, Dr. Mrs Nike Akande, at its 2016 1st quarter press conference, the chamber also urged the apex bank to deepen the autonomous foreign exchange market through the liberalization of inflows from Export Proceeds, Diaspora Remittances, Multinational Companies and Donor Agencies.

These recommendations according to it will mitigate the current crisis in the forex market and also improve investor’s confidence.

Mrs Akande noted that “the discussion at this time should not be about devaluation of the naira. It should be about a pricing mechanism that is sustainable, predictable and transparent.  It is about a policy regime that would reduce uncertainty and inspire the confidence of investors.  It is about a policy framework that would minimize discretion and arbitrage in the foreign exchange allocation mechanism.  This is what the discussion should be about.”

The Chamber also called on government to step up efforts to enhance capital flows into the economy by relaxing existing foreign exchange policies to facilitate inflows from export proceeds, Diaspora remittances, and foreign investment.

It said it has become imperative to enhance the capital flows in order to reverse the declining trend of flow of investment into the country which has been going on for the past three years.

On the dwindling power situation across the country, the Chamber said there was need to review the current framework with a view to finding a sustainable solution to the current challenges in the sector.

There is an urgent need to explore alternative models of power provision which focuses on diversification of energy sources and decentralization of power supply channels,” she said.

NASS Bills

While commending the National Assembly on recent efforts to identify, analyse and review some laws which are no longer in tune with the reality of contemporary investment environment, the body also called for the speedy passage of the following bills.

  1. Petroleum Industry Bill (1st introduced in the NASS in 2003)
  2. Solid Mineral Industry Reform Bill
  3. Railway/Rail Transport Reform Bill
  4. Inland Waterways Bill,
  5. Port Reform Bill – Ports and Harbour Bill,
  6. National Transport Commission Bill,
  7. Competition and Consumer Protection Bill,
  8. Currier & Postal Sector Reform Bill,
  9. Land Use Bill

 

The Chamber expressed optimism that the bills when passed would among other things provide the much needed legal backing for the economic diversification drive and support private sector to create economic opportunities in the country.

Nnenna.O