The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), yesterday berated the National Assembly( NASS)for the non confirmation of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), stressing that it poses danger to the economy.
Recall that the MPC meeting this month was postponed due to the non constitution of the board. The Chamber said the important function of the MPC in determining interest rate and others makes it too important to be left to political permutations.
The President of the Chamber, Babatunde Ruwase, speaking at the first briefing on the state of the economy , said the disagreement between the President and Senate over confirmation of nominees for the heads of some government institutions and members of special committees and boards is beginning to take its toll on the economy.
“The suspension of the CBN’s first MPC meeting due to the banks inability to form quorum prevented them from reviewing economic and financial conditions on the economy to determine appropriate stance of policy in the short to medium term; review regularly the CBN monetary policy framework and adopt changes when necessary and failure to meet had diverse implications for stakeholders in the financial sector and economy in general”, he said.
On the economy, he said, it is on the path of slow and fragile recovery after five consecutive quarters of contractions with a marginal growth of 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, and 1.4 per cent in the third quarter driven by improvements in crude oil price and oil output and better liquidity in the forex market.
“Beyond the GDP numbers, we have to contend with the challenges of unemployment which was at 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, translating to 16 million unemployed people.”
He said there should be focus on job creation and inclusiveness which will come from better backward integration, better patronage of made in Nigeria products; and the general prosperity of businesses, especially the SMEs, to effectively tackle unemploment.
The LCCI President lamented that access to and cost of fund remains a big issue for many domestic investors with commercial bank lending rate at between 20-35 per cent, depending on the borrower and other factors, making it difficult for the private sector and majorly the SMEs to access funds.
He said the inability of SME’s to access fund from the CBN, BOI and other institutions was because most of them don’t have proper records that are bankable.