The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged the Federal Government to create fiscal incentives to strengthen businesses and the nation’s economy.
This contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the President of the chamber, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye.
Ejinkeonye was reacting to the Democracy Day Speech delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“ACCI looks forward to the fiscal incentives that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected to offer businesses in Nigeria and how the government will improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria.’’
He stated that the latest foreign trade report of the first quarter of 2016 released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade stood at N2, 723.9 billion.
He said; “From the preceding quarter value of ₦3,517.4 billion, this was N793.5 billion or 22.6 per cent less. This development arose due to a sharp decline in both imports and exports. Exports saw a decline of N671.1 billion or 34.6 per cent, while imports declined by N122.4 billion or 7.8 per cent.
“The steep decline in exports brought the country’s trade balance down to N184.1 billion, or N548.7 billion less than in the preceding quarter.’’
The President added that the crude oil component of total trade decreased by N716.7 billion or 46.6 per cent against the level recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“This is not unexpected given the impact of the 41 imported items excluded for Foreign Exchange (Forex) by the CBN, decline in crude oil production, and the inaccessibility /shortage of Forex in the last one year.
“Furthermore, a weak export market is an indication of a frail economy as depicted in the decline of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the same period under review.’’
He stressed the Democracy Day Speech was well articulated and provided leverage for hope in the Nigerian economy.
“It is a fact that President Buhari came to power when the Nigerian economy was beginning to experience down-turn attributed to declining crude oil price in the international market. Buhari campaigned and won the election on the platform of restoring security, tackling corruption and repositioning the economy.
“Most of the challenges confronting this administration which the president reiterated in his speech such as decrepit infrastructure, insecurity, huge domestic debt, forex and fuel shortages are issues that have been with us.’’
“Though insecurity has resurfaced in the Niger Delta area; repositioning the economy for now seems a mirage as the economy is headed for a recession. Nevertheless, we can take solace in the president’s statement that his administration spent the last 12 months building collaboration with all arms of government to revive institutions and reposition them for efficiency.’’