Regulatory challenges, others killing real sector

Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, says there is the urgent need for the Federal Government to formulate policies that will make the nation’s real sector to return to its booming status. It said the government must do away with stifling regulatory tendencies.

The association in a statement signed by its Director-General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, on Tuesday, stated that the government must evolve a deliberate and not accidental policy aimed at channelling cheap credit to businesses, creating a favourable environment for enterprises to thrive and reducing regulatory predatory tendencies.

This, NECA said, would enable the private sector to create jobs and wealth for the teeming youth and provide opportunities for the government to generate income.

Also, during his courtesy visit to The Punch Place, Magboro, Ogun State on  Tuesday, Olawale said there was the need to train the youth in technical skills to make them employable.

He rated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration low in job creation, adding that unemployment remained a major challenge in the country.

During the visit, he equally criticized the debate over the N30,000 minimum wage, saying the money was too meagre to sustain a worker.

He said, “We commend the initiatives of this government, they have tried in their own way to create jobs. But I dare say that what they are doing is just a scratch on the surface of the epidemic that is confronting our country and that scourge is massive youth unemployment.”

In the statement, while he acknowledged government’s efforts at bringing the economy out of the woods, Olawale noted that the nation must face the reality that it was an oil-dependent nation rather than an oil-rich nation.

He added that the private sector continued to be edged out of access to capital at reasonable cost, due to the volume of the government’s borrowing in the domestic market.

He noted that the assumptions of the 2019 budget showed that the government might borrow to finance the deficit in the budget.

He said this was against the background of the Debt Management Office earlier report that the Federal Government’s domestic debt profit rose to N15.814tn in September 2018 from N15.629tn in June 2018 (1.19 percent increase).

While acknowledging the government’s effort in spite of the nation’s challenges, he said “we recognize the multifaceted challenges facing the government and commend its effort at meeting the yearning of the organized private sector.

“However, there is the urgent need for a deliberate and not accidental policy aimed at channelling cheap credit to businesses, creating a favourable environment for enterprises to thrive and reducing regulatory predatory tendencies.

“This will enable the private sector to create jobs and wealth for the teeming youth and provide opportunities for the government to generate income.”

He explained, however, that some other African countries had a higher percentage of domestic credit available to the private sector. He added that the data from the World Bank (2017) showed that Ghana had (17.3 percent), Cote d’Ivoire (23.9 percent), Benin (20.4 percent), Togo (35.1 percent) and Kenya (30.0 percent) among other African countries “have a higher percentage of domestic credit available to private sector.”

Olawale said the gradual reduction in the unemployment rate and increase in job creation in these countries justified the imperative of giving the private sector due attention.

While talking about youth empowerment, he noted that if they were engaged in one productive venture or the other, they would not be ready tools in other misadventures.

He said, “That is why they are ready-made tools in the hands of Boko Haram because there are many frustrated youths that are just roaming around in the North. Just a little inducement and they are ready to cause unrest.  That is why in the course of these political activities, you also have ready-made thugs.

“Unfortunately that is the situation we have found ourselves and that is why you see police parade graduates who are involved in the kidnapping and terror-related activities. In those days, even before you finish your course, industries are already begging you to work for them. But this is where we have found ourselves.

Credit: Punch Newspaper

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