By Merit Ibe
Alarmed by the upward inflationary trend in the country, the Nigerian private sector entrepreneurs have urged the Federal Government to immediately roll out plans to stem the situation.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rising cost of living in the country, driven by food inflation and mainly fueled by increasing insecurity, naira devaluation and dollar shortage calls for concern.
The sector is worried that the trend could further aggravate social discontent if not arrested, having already forced food prices to rise out of the reach of most Nigerians with many living in abject poverty.
Chief executive officers of various firms, who spoke to Daily Sun on condition of anonymity, listed rising cost of imports driven by forex scarcity, high cost of goods clearance at the ports (sea and air) and the humongous and arbitrary charges demanded by haulage firms among the many challenges contributing to make the Nigerian business environment unfriendly.
They complained that the fluctuating Naira- Dollar exchange rate has made it a bit more difficult for medium-long term planning, no matter how short the transaction period.
Lamenting the rigorous and costly clearance procedures at the Nigerian ports, they posited that the state of the ports calls to question Buhari administration’s often repeated assurances of creating a business friendly environment.
“Government’s statement exists only in its sophistry and imagination. I don’t want to go to the extreme by saying, in their deception,” an operating officers of one of the SMEs said.
Narrating her ordeal, Jumoke Afolorunsho, a dealer in frozen fish in Lagos, bemoaned the constant increase in prices of fish and chicken, at each point of purchase, thus putting her business in dire strait.
She also talked about scarcity of fish and local poultry products as suppliers are not able to meet demand and rising prices of the products.
“Fish supply has declined in the past three months and this is impacting negatively on both prices and availability,” Afolorunsho said.
Samuel Ajayi, a chief financial officer of a large agro allied company in Ogun State, also decried the impact of the rising cost of poultry and other farm produce.
He said many big farms are gradually closing shop because of high cost of input such as maize and feeds.