By Bimbola Oyesola 08033246177, [email protected]
The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has charged the Federal Government to collaborate with the business communities to fast-track the achievement of its programme aimed at lifting 100 million people out of poverty.
Chairman of the OPSN, which comprises Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI) and Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi, speaking in Lagos recently, noted that a more elaborate effort and collaboration with the private sector would reduce the burden on the government in the long run.
“The disruptions in the global economy as a result of COVID-19 pandemic notably in lower oil prices, which is the major revenue source for the country and perceived risk in foreign direct investment, among other risks, portends huge challenge in achieving the economic development proposed by this administration, most especially in lifting about 100 million people out of poverty,” he said.
Adeniyi, who is also the incumbent NECA president, said while the members of the OPSN applaud the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its strides and genuine efforts at solving the myriads of challenges facing the nation, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they affirm that a more elaborate effort and collaboration with the private sector would reduce government’s burden.
He added that more attention should be given to public-private partnership (PPP) as a way to address the huge infrastructure deficit.
The OPSN chairman said, “It is our belief that implementing the PPP initiative in provision of the country’s critical infrastructure, decent and sustainable jobs will be provided and desirable number of people will be lifted from the poverty rank even before the desired date of 2030.
“We re-affirm our commitment as organized businesses to partner and collaborate with government in the onerous quest to make Nigeria the giant of Africa indeed.”
Condemning the high rate of insecurity in the country, which he reasoned may further disrupt the government agenda, Adeniyi said, “Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 27.1% in Q2, 2020 to 33.3% in Q4, 2020, while underemployment rate decreased from 28.6% to 22.8%, indicating about 23.19 million Nigerians were unemployed. Furthermore, the country’s unemployment and underemployment rates are now 56.1%, this is not only worrisome but also frightening.”
“The current challenges of high insecurity, kidnapping and other social vices could, to some extent, be attributed to the high unemployment rate. This data comes with serious social and economic consequences if the underlying issues are not quickly addressed,” he said.
According to him, more efforts must be channelled to fast-tracking economic revival, starting with support for the real sector. He said, while government had put in place several initiatives to ameliorate the challenges, the fundamental issues arising from COVID-19 and its negative effects on businesses had not been addressed sufficiently.
He stated, “We urged the government to refocus its efforts on supporting organised businesses to increase production capacity, which would invariably enable them to create more jobs. Verifiable support should be given to MSMEs to enable growth from the bottom up and a critical impact-audit of current interventions made to determine their effectiveness and relevance in the context of current realities.”