ON assumption in office as the 20th National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Saratu Iya Aliyu, without much ado displayed her administrative and management acumen by leading the path towards transforming the association through what she called “unleashing the Giant” for NACCIMA 2019 -2022 Plan.
Before her assumption, NACCIMA under the leadership of Iyalode Alaba Lawson achieved remarkable strides including strengthening NACCIMA-export Group, NAWORG among others which saw its members doing exploits in spite of obvious harsh economic weather. As a corporate leader with many parts, Aliyu led a delegation to the office of the President, with a Presentation of NACCIMA’s 3 -year Plan with the theme “Unleashing The Giant”. In her presentation, she enumerated NACCIMA’s impacts to Nigeria’s economy from time immemorial and the need for the federal government through the federal ministry of Trade and Investment to do everything reasonable to place the NACCIMA at the vanguard of the organized private sector (OPS).
According to her, NACCIMA contributed about 85 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP); about N2.4 trillion in wealth creation from only 17 of NACCIMA 298 listed corporate members on the Nigerian Stock Exchange;. The association also paid about N125billion as tax from 17 of NACCIMA 298 listed corporate members; and created about 53,000 direct jobs, and about 65, 000 private sector reach with members in the Board of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
Going by the aforementioned feats, NACCIMA implored President Muhammadu Buhari to critically look into the activities of the Association as the engine room of the economy. The Nigerian government pledged to provide a befitting Secretariate and facilities for the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce Operations (FEWACCI).Similarly Nigeria had been granted the privilege of hosting FEWACCI headquarters since its inception in 1976.
The presentation reads in part “Appeal for the kind intervention of Mr president for the provision of a property within Abuja, FCT, for the location of the headquarters/ Secretariate of FEWACCI, befitting Nigeria’s position as a leading economic powerhouse in Africa. Further appeal for government support and assistance in the provision of logistics necessary to realize our vision for the FEWACCI headquarters in Nigeria”.
The present leadership of NACCIMA believes that, the Giant of Nigeria’s economy can be unleashed when the private and public sector work in synergy to usher the nation into greater level of sustainable development, increase revenue and a holistic benefits by leveraging on the collaboration between the two sectors. This is the crux of the 2019 -2022 theme. More so, NACCIMA made it known to the president that, it would never accept the allusion that the Giant in Nigeria economy is asleep, but agreed it is being constrained by some institutional and socioeconomic tethers coupled with the dip in oil prices which caused a recession in 2016 and 2017, leading to a decline in direct Foreign Investment (DFI). The “Unleashing The Giant” programme identified 21 pillars of impacts and strategies; of the 21 strategies, 16 have been identified for partnership with the Federal Government, if throws its weights behind NACCIMA.
According to NACCIMA president, its 3-year plan will among other things increase National GDP, reduce unemployment, and boost FDI. The 16 areas of focus are solid minerals and metals, AFCFTA maximisation, women and youth empowerment, Technology and infrastructure, Creative industry, micro, small and medium scale development, proactive policy engagement. NACCIMA implore the Federal Government to issue directive to all relevant MDAs to forthwith engage them (NACCIMA) and the OPS in its activities to have full private sector impacts on government policy formulation, implementation and monitoring. Having developed the pro -Advocacy strategy for expansion, NACCIMA has forged a working relationship with the government to promote a pro -business agenda for Nigeria’s economic development through influencing laws, regulations, guidelines and policies to enhance productivity and ease of doing business in Nigeria as it pledges to work with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank Of Industry (BOI), local and international investors to bring about funding, identify and eliminate business bottlenecks and boost efficiency through leapfroging technology and market expansion, learning and expertise sharing.
Through its “aid to trade” drive, NACCIMA called on FG to help it in capacity building for its members to enhance and strengthen their skills that would give them competitive edge as they launched into the globally value chain. More significant is the request for N5bn intervention Fund for its members involved in infrastructure development, and the need for CBN to look into the adverse effects of TSA on banks’ liquidity, these support from the FG would aid NACCIMA to take advantage of its relationship with regional and international bi-lateral Chambers of Commerce.
Without hesitation, NACCIMA charged FG to make huge investment in infrastructure and ensure that Nigeria’s companies compete favourably in AFCFTA as well as domesticate the agreement into Nigeria local laws and its implementation, all these would not be possible if NACCIMA does not seek partnership with the federal government to eliminate several barriers in order to the equal participation of women in business, including removing constraints felt by women in rural areas, this they sought through the office of the first lady to bring about action for youth and women development under NACCIMA Youth and women Entrepreneurs Group program (NYE).
Aliyu did not leave the president without charging its members collaborate with FG to provide workable policies to eliminate obstacles to flourishing exports trade. The current inter- agency fight for control of the value chain is unacceptable as it takes average of Four weeks to get export permit from one of the MDAs, NACCIMA advised that, all permit required for export be domicile with the Chambers of Commerce. Howbeit, it offered to assist FG to formulate private/public sector initative to boost MSMEs leading to diversification of the economy and eliminate over reliance on the oil revenue.
In the light of the above, NACCIMA called on the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and other relevant MDAs responsible for the facilitation of trade and investment in the country for collaboration to ensure that its agenda to “Unleash the Giant” in Nigeria’s economy through its members and the organised private sector are fully resuscitated especially now that Nigeria has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).