•Osinbajo assures private sector of conducive environment
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase has said plans to build modular refineries might not be the answer for the incessant fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
Ruwase told State House Correspondents modular refineries can only be an interventionist approach to tackling the problem because its products would be more expensive than those from integrated refineries.
He advised the Federal government to hand over existing refineries to the private sector for effective management and optimal utilisation of capacity.
The LCCI president also said the ease-of-doing-business reforms of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration have had positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.
According to him, it has become easier for business people to access foreign exchange to import raw materials, and pointed out that there has been some stability in the foreign exchange market.
“There has been some progress, particularly in the ease-of-doing-business policy of government that was put in place and the various presidential orders they have introduced so far have impacted positively in the business environment; for us as business people,” he said.
The LCCI president also said there have been improvements in power and in road construction, which have enabled businesses to move their goods from one part of the country to another.
Ruwase said the delegation at the meeting with Osinbajo, raised the issue of the gridlock at Apapa, in Lagos, overlapping functions of government regulatory agencies, and the absence of an office of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council NIPC, among others.
“The bridges we have in Lagos now are being turned to trailer parks, which is not good for business,” Ruwase stated, and suggested that the rail lines from Apapa ports should be resuscitated, to make it easier for goods to move from the ports to various areas of Nigeria.
On the overlapping functions of government regulatory agencies, he said agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria come at different times to check for the same things.
“If at all they believe that this is not an overlap, they should come at the same time to approach the business and they should sign off about the same time.
“It is not good for you to face one regulatory authority as a manufacturer and, by the time you are finishing with that, others are coming to ask about the same thing because you have not changed your product.”
Earlier, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, assured the private sector that, in line with its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the federal government would continue to ensure the implementation of policies to drive socio-economic growth and prosperity.
He said this when he received the LCCI delegation, yesterday.
“I think no one is in doubt that we have very great policies and we will ensure that these things are implemented and are done as faithfully as possible,” he said.
The vice president further said the private sector in Nigeria will continue to play a prominent role in the economic programmes and initiatives of the Buhari administration.
While noting the significance of private sector investment in the economy, Osinabjo added that collaboration between the federal government and the private sector will further boost the country’s economic progress.
“If you look at our economic programmes and several other initiatives, the private sector plays a prominent role in them and that is how it should be.
“So there is no question that the roles the LCCI and private sector play are critical to the kind of development policies and plan that we have in this government,” the vice president said.